Lancaster City boss Phil Brown says he will be “proud” to lead the Dolly Blues in the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy final after their rollercoaster triumph over Padiham.
City beat the North West Counties Premier Division side on penalties after a 3-3 draw on Tuesday night, setting up a date with holders Chorley at Bolton Wanderers’ Macron Stadium on Monday, March 14.
Brown’s side were below their best, coming from behind three times with a last-minute leveller from Jacob Gregory sending the game to spot kicks.
The Blues boss said: “There’s a lot a younger players in that changing room whether it be in age or experience.
“I don’t think there’s many in the dressing room who’ve won a lot and there won’t be many who’ve played in finals. “There’s a few experienced players who’ve got a few medals but there’s a lot of lads who haven’t and maybe that’s weighed on their minds a bit.
“We weren’t at our best, and I’m not taking anything away from Padiham, but we were a little bit anxious.
“Getting to the final is a big deal for the lads and for me as a first time manager at this level.
“I’m going to be really chuffed and really proud to take Lancaster City to Bolton Wanderers.”
The game was a thriller with three fine goals from Padiham not enough for Steve Wilkes’ side to upset the odds.
Brown said: “I can imagine it was really good to watch.
“It lacked quality for large parts but it was end-to-end and both teams were going for it.
“From the sideline you’re always scrutinising your own team, looking at the goals conceded and the mistakes made.
“It was up and down, let’s say that.
“I’m just really happy to get through and for the club to get to a final at the Macron. “Everyone’s just overjoyed we’ve got through the semi-final.”
Despite three games against teams in lower leagues City have really had to dig deep to come through the rounds and Tuesday night was no different.
Brown said: “We’ve played three teams not in our league but there’s not a lot of difference in one off games.
“Padiham were in our league last year, have got some good players and Steve (Wilkes, manager) set them up very well.
“We’ve had to work hard, like you do in every game. There’s no gimmes, you’re not going to whoop teams just because you’re in a different league.
“The first game we played against Darwen we were losing 3-2 and Charlie Russell scored a great goal in the last minute and then Danny Carlton came on and scored in injury time and we went through 4-3.
“Then we played Ashton and yeah we won 2-0 but it wasn’t comfortable.
“I’m really pleased for the lads, the board and the fans who were brilliant again tonight.
“They never stopped, I heard them coming down the car park.”