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How We Made it to Monday's FA Trophy Final

The countdown continues ahead of our clash against Concord Rangers in the 2020 FA Trophy final and ahead of kick-off tomorrow afternoon we take a look back at exactly how both sides made it through to  the Wembley showpiece.

Not only has the competition spanned two seasons, it has also been contested across three years with the opening games taking place back at the tail-end of 2019.

In December of that year Town’s progress looked to have stalled at the very first hurdle as goals from Tyler Hamilton and Ryan Donaldson put Hartlepool two goals to the good at half-time. A Peter Kioso own-goal provided a glimmer of hope 15 minutes from time and in the 86th minute Connor Hall popped up to equalise and keep Town in the competition.

With extra-time looming Brendan Kiernan was the hero as he hit home three minutes into stoppage time to cap a remarkable turnaround for Simon Weaver’s side.



Next up was a trip to the North-East in January 2020 to face National League North side Darlington. After the drama of the first round it was a relatively comfortable afternoon as goals either side of half-time from Jack Diamond and Lloyd Kerry secured Town’s progress with a 2-0 win.



It was the same scoreline a month later when on-loan Alex Bradley put Town ahead against Eastleigh midway through the first-half before Jack Emmett’s goal five minutes from time sent Town through to the last eight.



At the end of February in the quarter-finals Town were drawn against AFC Fylde and the game served up a thriller. After falling behind to a Jordan Williams goals early in the second-half, two goals in a minute from Lloyd Kerry and Jack Muldoon looked to have sent Town into the semi-finals only for a Luke Burke stoppage time equaliser to send the game to extra-time.

With the prospect of penalties looking likely a wonder strike from Muldoon on the stroke of half-time of the added 30 minutes won the day.



Town were drawn against Notts County in the semi-finals of the competition, the team they of course defeated in the National League playoff final to earn promotion to the EFL.

With the prospect of another trip to Wembley on the line it was a tough and tense 90 minutes but a Will Smith headed goal on the cusp of half-time was enough to send his side through to the final.

Concord Rangers

Tomorrow’s opponents currently play at National League South level, meaning their last competitive fixture was back in mid-February. They entered the competition in the final qualifying round, overcoming Slough Town 3-2 before defeating Maidstone United by the same margin, having fallen 2-0 within the first 20 minutes and requiring two goals in the final 10 minutes to see them through.

After a 1-1 draw at home to Bath City in the second round Jon Nouble’s strike in the 88th minute earned Rangers a 2-1 win in the replay.

There was further drama in the third round when they faced Leamington. With the game ending 1-1 after 90 minutes James Blanchfield’s extra-time goal was cancelled out by Callum Maycock to force a penalty shoot-out, where Rangers ultimately triumphed 4-3.

Rangers continued their run of tight games in round 4 when they needed extra-time once again to defeat Royston Town, Decarrey Sherriff hitting home in the 93rd minute to win 2-1 and earn a semi-final spot against Halesowen Town, where having fallen behind to an early Richard Gregory goal, a Robert Evans own goal put them back on level term before Alex Wall hit home with 10 minutes remaining to put the Beachboys on their way to Wembley.

A reminder the fixture has been made free to air by BT Sport via btsport.com, the BT Sport App, BT TV, Sky TV and Virgin Media channel 100.

The fixture will not be available via our streaming service.

#ProudToBeTown
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