Gateshead head to Wembley Stadium for the second time in their history to face FC Halifax Town in the Isuzu FA Trophy Final on Sunday, May 21 (4:15pm kick-off).
The last time Gateshead walked out under the famous Wembley arch was back in 2014 in the National League play-off final, where Cambridge United ran out 2-1 winners.
Only three players in the Heed camp have previous experience at the home of football – Louis Storey, Aaron Martin and Carl Magnay, the latter of which played in that 2014 defeat.
This season Gateshead finished 14th in the National League table, just two points behind opponents Halifax.
In their FA Trophy journey Mike Williamson’s side defeated Gloucester, Oldham and Banbury in normal time before edging past Farsley Celtic and Barnet on penalties.
Halifax have never lost to Gateshead since forming in 2008, with 11 draws and three victories going The Shaymen’s way.
Town won the FA Trophy back in 2016 with a 1-0 victory over Grimsby, where current keeper and former Gateshead loanee Sam Johnson kept a clean sheet.
Another player who could feature against his former club on Sunday is Jack Hunter, with the midfielder playing an instrumental role as Gateshead won the National League North last campaign.
Gateshead held The Shaymen to a goalless draw at The International Stadium in March, though the previous meeting in September saw a 2-0 Halifax win.
“It’s a massive stadium,” said Robbie Tinkler.
“It’s absolutely huge and it’s just about controlling the emotions.
“We’ve watched a video from friends and family which was really nice, but it’s about finding the balance between feeling those emotions and focusing on the task ahead.”
“It’s a one-off final at Wembley,” said Halifax manager Chris Millington.
“There is no underdog – Gateshead scored 18 more goals than us in the league but finished two points below us.
“We know we’re in for a tough game because Gateshead are a tough side and they can beat anyone in the National League on their day.
“So can we, we’re a difficult side to play against and we’ll not give up the FA Trophy easily.”
Gateshead will have a small squad of senior players to choose from on Sunday afternoon, with academy players Ben Franklin, Dylan Archer and Oli Thompson all eligible for selection.
Mike Williamson and Elliot Forbes are unavailable through injury, while Connor Pani, Harrison Clark, Lirak Hasani, Marcus Dinanga, Tom Allan and Stephen Wearne are cup-tied.
Full match commentary will be provided by David Gaddess and Mark Carruthers, live from Wembley Stadium.
Gateshead were defeated by FC Halifax Town with a solitary goal in the Isuzu FA Trophy final at Wembley Stadium.
Jamie Cooke scored the only goal of the match in the 44th minute when he collected a loose back-pass to find the back of the net.
Mike Williamson would name a youthful bench with Dylan Archer, Oli Thompson, Ben Franklin and Mauro Asikaogu all featured on the bench. Kenton Richardson would return to the starting XI after coming back from injury.
The first chance of the match fell in the 28th minute. Jamie Cooke whipped a low-ball into the box which beat Magnay and found Rob Harker to shoot wide.
Halifax took the lead in the 44th minute. Cooke capitalised on a awkward back-pass by the Gateshead defence as he dispossessed James Montgomery before he slotted away the chance.
Adam Campbell cut inside before his curled effort went just wide of the post in the 49th minute.
Greg Olley’s corner was flicked past the post by Owen Bailey in the 52nd minute .
Olley’s free-kick was headed away by the Halifax defence which landed at the feet of Adam Campbell who smashed the ball over the bar in the 60th minute.
Millenic Alli powered forward with the ball from the half-way line into the Gateshead box in the 64th minute. The Halifax forward cut inside but his shot was saved by Montgomery.
Montgomery pulled off a world-class save in the 72nd minute. Cooke’s floated cross to the back-post was volleyed by Jack Hunter from five yards out but Montgomery somehow palmed the ball away.
Kamil Conteh danced his way past two Halifax defenders before his initial shot was collected by Sam Johnson in the 80th minute.
Gateshead: Montgomery, Tinkler, Richardson, (Harris), Storey, Magnay, Bailey, Conteh, Olley, Campbell, Ward, Martin, (Thompson)
Subs: Marschall, Asikaogu, Archer, Franklin, Knight
Halifax Town: Johnson, Golden, Debrah, (Summerfield), Scott, Senior, Hunter, Harker, Cappello, (Warburton), Cooke, Gilmour, Alli
Subs: Clarke, Wright, O’Rourke, Lavelle, Sinfield
Goals: Cooke (44’)