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FA Trophy | Final
May 21, 2023 at 4.15pm UK

1 - 0

Cooke (44')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Preview: Halifax Town vs. Gateshead - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Halifax Town vs. Gateshead - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's FA Trophy clash between Halifax Town and Gateshead, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Wembley Stadium plays host to the FA Trophy final this weekend, where Halifax Town will face Gateshead on Sunday afternoon.

After both finishing in mid-table in the National League, the two clubs now have the opportunity to fight for honours in the final non-league game of the season.

Match preview

Both sides come into this showpiece occasion in excellent form, having become notoriously difficult to beat in the latter stage of the National League season.

Only playoff finalists Chesterfield have beaten Halifax in their last 15 outings, with a strong finish ensuring a finish in the top half for the Shaymen.

Their final eight games of the season yielded an excellent 18 points, while Chris Millington's side conceded just three goals in that time.

Halifax's run to the final in this competition has been nothing short of dramatic, with Millenic Alli's 95th-minute equaliser forcing a penalty shootout in their semi-final versus Altrincham.

Going on to win on spot kicks meant Halifax have won three penalty shootouts to reach Wembley, and with nothing to split the sides, that expertise could be brought to the fore again.

Fellow National League sides Aldershot and Maidenhead were among the other sides conquered by Halifax on their run to the final.

Halifax have been here and done it before too, having won the FA Trophy back in 2016, beating Grimsby Town 1-0 against all odds in the final.

For Gateshead, they will be hoping for a happier day out compared to their last visit to Wembley, when they were beaten by Cambridge United in the National League playoff final back in 2014.

Their late-season form suggests that is a real possibility too, as only Wrexham and Notts County picked up more points in the league in 2023 than Gateshead.

Eight wins from their final 11 matches ensured comfortable survival in their first season back in the fifth tier, following promotion from the National League North a year ago.

Their run to the final has also been remarkable, given the lengthy injury list manager Mike Williamson has had to deal with, as well having a number of first-team players cup-tied in the FA Trophy.

Like Halifax, the Heed also needed penalties to progress through the semi-finals, and they did excellently to hold their nerve to do so, having squandered a 3-0 lead against Barnet, with a goal in the 12th minute of added time forcing the shootout.

Halifax Town FA Trophy form:

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Halifax Town form (all competitions):

Gateshead FA Trophy form:

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Gateshead form (all competitions):

Team News

Halifax will be without top scorer Emmanuel Dieseruvwe after he was sent off for violent conduct against Woking in the penultimate game of the season.

The Shaymen have struggled in front of goal without Dieseruvwe, only scoring five goals in the last seven games where he has not started.

Home-grown Halifax man Jack Senior will get the chance to lead the side out at Wembley as captain, coming back into the starting lineup after not featuring in the final three games.

Gateshead's Kenton Richardson has returned from injury and will be available for selection after a knock kept him out for over a month.

Owen Bailey is another recent returner as injury has scuppered much of his campaign, but having featured in the final three games of the league season, he should start.

Absent though will be Ed Francis, Stephen Wearne, Marcus Dinanga and Connor Pani, who are all cup-tied, while Ethan Pye has been recalled from his loan spell early by Stockport County.

Halifax Town possible starting lineup:
Johnson; A Senior, Cappello, Stott, Golden; J Senior, Hunter, Gilmour, Alli, Cooke; Harker

Gateshead possible starting lineup:
Marschall; Bailey, Tinkler, Storey; Magnay, Conteh, Campbell, Olley, Ward, Hasani; Martin

We say: Halifax Town 1-2 Gateshead

In what should be a thrilling finale to the non-league season, there may not be much between two sides who ended the season in great form.

However, the absence of Dieseruvwe up front may be pivotal, as Halifax do not have the same threat without him leading the line.

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Premier League Table
5Solihull MoorsSolihull462113127162976
7Halifax TownHalifax461914135850871
8Aldershot TownAldershot46209177483-969
9Southend UnitedSouthend4621121370452565
10Oldham AthleticOldham461518136360363
12Hartlepool UnitedHartlepool46179207082-1260
14Maidenhead UnitedMaidenhead461513186067-758
15Dagenham & RedbridgeDag & Red461414186963656
20York City461217175569-1453
21Boreham WoodBoreham Wood461216185973-1452
22Kidderminster HarriersKidderminster461113224059-1946
23Dorking WanderersDorking46129255485-3145
24Oxford CityOxford City4689295494-4033
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