Ashington AFC

Sat 23 Sep 2017 | FA Vase | Away




Neil Howlett



By Brian Bennett

Supersubs Dale Pearson and Callum Johnston conjured up the winning formula as Ashington finally triumphed in this Buildbase FA Vase clash after extra time against Thackley in Bradford on Saturday.

Pearson netted a brace - including the winner – whilst Johnston scored one and claimed an assist in a game which was far from a thriller despite the score line. The Wansbeck side – spurred on by a magnificent army of travelling fans - could have gone in front on the quarter hour through Tony Stephenson. Substitute Paul Antony – an early replacement for the injured Ben Sampson – and Kyle Downey worked a short corner on the left and when the ball came in, Stephenson’s glancing header smacked against the bar. Shortly afterwards, Thackley threatened for the first time with a low drive from Joe Hughes which was held by ‘keeper Conor Grant. An uneventful and flat first period, suddenly came to life in the closing stages. Jay Hornsby had an effort taken under the bar by home stopper Luke Wilson before Ben Christensen took a pass from Hornsby and was sent tumbling in the area. Referee Neil Howlett pointed to the spot but Downey’s penalty was too close to Wilson who parried - then saved the follow up by the taker. In the last minute of the 45, Thackley took the lead. Nicholas Matthews and Callum Padgett combined down the left and when the latter crossed, Hughes planted a firm header from 12 yards past Grant and into the roof of the net. Colliers skipper Craig Scott had a great opportunity to level on the hour but placed his header over from an Antony corner. Grant pushed away an angled drive from Dan Broadbent before the Colliers got back on terms in sensational style in the 65th minute. Joint managers Steve Harmison and Tom Wade introduced Dale Pearson for Stephenson – and within 35 seconds, it was the substitute who struck. He latched onto a precision through pass from Scott to advance then place a left footer wide of Wilson and inside the post. The ‘keeper took down a header from Pearson then the home side were reduced to ten men when skipper Pat McGuire, who had already been cautioned, blocked Ashington’s attempts to take a quick free kick and promptly received his marching orders. Six minutes later, Downey and Lee McAndrew worked another short corner with Downey’s stinging drive being pushed away by Wilson then Wayne Buchanan powered home a header from an Antony corner but the goal was ruled out for a foul. Ashington pressurised – low balls by Pearson and Antony went across the face of goal, Ben Harmison had a header deflected then Kesi Omolokun cleared off the line from yet another Antony corner. The game went into extra time and Johnston – who had replaced Hornsby – gave Ashington a dream start with a goal after two minutes. Ben Harmison glanced the ball on for Johnston who applied a sublime finish with his right foot wide of Wilson and inside the far post. However, the ten men of Thackley refused to lie down and Jerome White equalised with an effort from 16 yards following a corner just prior to the end of the first additional half. However, 30 seconds into the second period, Christensen played a pass down the line for Johnston who spun and crossed a terrific ball to the far post where Pearson netted what proved to be the winner guiding his effort between Wilson and the post.

Ashington: Grant, Christensen, Salmon, Downey, Scott, Buchanan, Sampson (Antony 13 minutes), McAndrew, Stephenson (Pearson 64 minutes), B Harmison, Hornsby (Johnston 54 minutes). Subs not used: Strafford, R Bell.


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