ONE year ago, FA Vase-winning Whitley Bay captain David Coulson had just suffered knee ligament damage at Barwell, and was facing up to a sustained spell out of the game.
Facing up, to being deprived the opportunity to hold the trophy aloft again.
He enjoyed watching his team-mates do so, but never imagined another chance would come his way.
Now though, the Seahorses are Wembley-bound once more, having beaten Poole Town 3-1 at Hillheads on Saturday to claim a 5-2 semi-final victory on aggregate.
After Dave Sturgess’ opener levelled the tie, conceding early par for the course for Whitley, they responded typically, and Paul Chow – written off by Poole fans last week – scored a hat-trick to send the Bay through. “It’s a great feeling, the boys played fantastically and we thoroughly deserve to go through again,” Coulson said.
“Last year was good but obviously wasn’t the same for me.
“Now I just can’t wait to lead the lads out and hopefully get up there and win it a third year in a row.
“I’ve been dying to get back playing again. I feel good and put in a decent performance.
“Hopefully, I can get a few more games under my belt and be raring to go for the final.”
He added: “We knew we couldn’t play any worse than we did at Poole, when we had a really bad game.
“Once we nullified their left-winger (Carl Preston) it was ours for the taking.
“There was no panic when we went behind. We’d discussed beforehand that if that happened we just had to play our own game.
“There aren’t many games we don’t score in, and we knew that if we got one they would have to score three to win.
“That hasn’t happened very often in the last year or so, our defensive record is excellent now.
“And we’re always capable of scoring goals, especially with someone like Chowy.
“I think before the final we’ll have to get their fans to give him some stick and he might stick another three in.
“He was fantastic, an absolute goalscorer.
“But everyone played their part, it was a good performance. We’ve played better than that, we did what we had to do to get through, but they still couldn’t handle us.
“There’s a great team spirit among the lads, we always keep going until the end.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be going back to Wembley again, words can’t describe it.
“We’re writing the history books.”