Gale recalls semi-final pain

Shaun Gale, right, with Hawks boss Lee Bradbury Picture: Dave Haines

Shaun Gale, right, with Hawks boss Lee Bradbury Picture: Dave Haines

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Shaun Gale is keen to avoid suffering FA Trophy torment for a second time with the Hawks.

The assistant boss was a member of the last Hawks side to reach the semi-final of the national competition, back in 2002-2003.

On that occasion, the Hawks lost out narrowly to Tamworth over two legs – and Gale admits it wasn’t a pleasant experience.

‘Obviously, to lose in any semi-final is disappointing,’ said Gale.

‘It seems a long time ago but I remember playing in the first leg at Tamworth where we lost 1-0 to a Warren Haughton goal.

‘In the second leg, I had been injured and went on as a second-half substitute and we lost in extra-time.

‘We had Bobby Howe sent off in extra-time and that changed the game.

‘It is heartbreaking to get so close and lose out.

‘There is a big carrot of a showpiece final at stake and you don’t want to lose out.

‘No-one ever remembers semi-finalists.’

Gale, as manager, also led the Hawks to the FA Trophy quarter-finals in 2008-2009, when they eventually lost out to Conference Premier outfit York City.

His finest moment, however, was when he led the Hawks on their famous FA Cup run in 2007-2008, which ended at Anfield against five-times European champions Liverpool.

Gale reckons getting to Wembley would be on a par with that memorable achievement.

‘Cup runs are fantastic and breed great confidence in the squad,’ added Gale.

‘It gives a buzz around the place and the Liverpool thing was fantastic.

‘As a player I was never lucky enough to play at Wembley, so to go there as part of the Hawks management team would be fantastic.

‘But that is a long way off at the moment.

‘First of all we have to negotiate two very tough games against Gosport.

‘We have got a fantastic group of players with us and they have worked extremely hard.

‘I am sure they are looking forward to it as much as we are.

‘There is a lot at stake and hopefully we will do things right over the two legs.’

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