Shildon manager Gary Forrest has insisted that his side will focus on winning the EBAC Northern League, despite reaching the last thirty two of the Buildbase FA Vase.

The Railwaymen saw off league rivals and former FA Vase winners North Shields on Saturday in a pulsating contest on North Tyneside.shildon

Goals either side of half time from strike duo Michael Rae and Amar Purewal put Forrest’s side two goals to the good and seemingly set for a comfortable passage through to the Fourth Round.

However, Shildon keeper Nick Liversedge was sent off for a push on North Shields winger Dean Holmes and gave the Robins a chance to get back into the game.

Denver Morris halved the deficit but the Railwaymen managed to hold on and they will now host Atherton Collieries in the next round.

Now depsite being just a few steps from a Wembley date, Forrest is prioritising winning the Northern League once again, just five months after they won their first title in over seventy years.

Forrest said “It’s the only trophy I haven’t won at Shildon, although I haven’t won the FA Cup yet but I can’t see that happening.

“We have gone close and I have only just recovered from that.

“Yes, we would love a run in the Vase, everybody wants a run in the Vase don’t they?

“But I am serious when I say if you ask any player in that changing room they will tell you the priority is to win the league.

“People say no it will be the Vase but it’s not, it’s the League. 

“When we come in for pre-season we say that the priority is to win the league.  If we end up at Wembley in the Vase then great, but we want to win this league again”

Shildon reached the FA Vase semi finals in 2013, their best performance in the competition.

On that occasion they were beaten over two legs by Tunbridge Wells, with the Kent side losing in the final against the Railwaymen’s then-Northern League rivals Spennymoor Town.

Since that day fellow Northern League sides North Shields and Morpeth Town have lifted the trophy.

When it was suggested that his side could be set for a Wembley trip, Forrest admitted that he has experienced too much in the competition to look that far ahead.

“I have been here before, I have been to quarter finals and semi finals and I know how it can turn like the click of a finger and it nearly did that today.

“I thought at two up we were comfortable and then the goalkeeper does something quite ridiculous and puts us on the back foot and gives North Shields a lift.

“It’s a sending off and I can’t argue.  Nick is the quietest man in the world and I don’t know why he has reacted like that, you can’t react like that.

“We had to defend for our lives and we know that we can’t take anything for granted”

Interview: Mark Carruthers (@marknldaily)

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