Halifax Town's Chris Millington wants Wembley reward for strength in adversity
It began with a Conference play-off defeat at home to Chesterfield which defied the form book last May.
That was quickly followed by Pete Wild's resignation, then seven defeats in the first 11 league games of the season. It set up a relegation fight which looks like being won, but is not yet.
"It's a huge thrill for everybody and makes all the adversity we've faced this year worthwhile," said Millington, who the club stood by after his difficult start.
"Just making it to the Trophy semi-final is some reward for all the adversity but a trip to Wembley would be fantastic for the lads.
"A lot of them have really grown up over the last ten months and I think the experiences they've had will stand them in good stead.
"There's a lot of very committed fans who've been really supportive and understand that – regardless of results sometimes– the lads have given everything and deserve encouragement, so it's them we'll be doing it for.
"It'll be such a tightly-packed ground with a good bank of away following, who've been fantastic in recent weeks. It'll be a brilliant occasion for them.
"And it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most players to play at Wembley."
Halifax are hopeful Jesse Debrah and Fidel O'Rourke will recover from hamstring injuries.
Gateshead host Barnet in the other game. The final is on May 21.