Published 10th February 2012
top two teams in the STL Northern League clash for a place in the last eight of the FA Carlsberg Vase on Saturday afternoon – weather permitting of course.
A crowd of well over 1,000 is expected at Hillheads for the much-anticipated clash, which will be subject to a morning pitch inspection, and Dixon said: “All the pressure is on Whitley Bay, because they’ve won the competition in the last three years, and it’s the first time we’ve played in the last sixteen.
“If we go there and win, we’ll be hailed as heroes, but if we lose, then people would say that was expected. Whitley Bay have been there and done it, so they’ll be fancying their chances more than us.”
Whitley haven’t lost in the Vase since the 2008 semi-finals and have yet to be drawn away in this season’s competition.
Manager Ian Chandler said: “Everybody is really looking forward to the game. We’re on a good run of form - we haven’t lost in twelve matches. We’re playing better than we were earlier in the season when we lost to West twice.
West will be without strikers John Campbell and Elliott Gardner, who are both cuptied, while Whitley will be at full strength.
West are certainly the rookies going into this tie. It’s the first time they have played in the last sixteen, while the last time Whitley didn’t play at this stage was back in season 2006/07.
There are five Northern League teams in Vase action this weekend.
Dunston UTS are at home to Bethnal Green United from the Essex Senior League.
Manager Billy Irwin said: “We don’t know much about them, but the good thing is we’ve got a home draw, so we have to make that advantage count.”
Striker Steve Goddard returns to a full strength Dunston line up. Dunston also won at this stage last season, when they won at Stansted, who play in the same league as Bethnal Green.
Billingham Synthonia, who lost at this stage last season, face Bournemouth Poppies from the Sydenhams Football League (Wessex) Premier Division at Central Avenue. Key midfielder Chris Emms is unavailable, while midfielder Jamie Blyth and striker Shane Henry are both cuptied.
Manager Micky Watson said: “If we perform like we did in the first half at Runcorn Town in our replay, then we’ve every chance of going through.”
Just like West Auckland, Ashington are playing at this stage of the competition for the first time in their history when they play at Uhlsport Hellenic Leaguers Shortwood United in Gloucestershire on Sunday.
Manager Gary Middleton said: “It is the last 16 of a national competition so all the teams are there on merit and a one we will have to be at the very top of our game to progress into the last eight.” Dan Taylor is ineligible, while Jonny Godsmark, Stephen Young and Darren Lough all ruled out.