4

Stockton Town

v

1

Ashington AFC

Sat 3 Nov 2018 | FA Vase | Away

Stadium

The Coverall Stadium

Attendance

343

Referee

Tony Murphy

Kick-Off

15:00

By Brian Bennett

It was always going to be a difficult task. But after Stockton Town - last season’s Buildbase FA Vase losing finalists - had dumped Ashington out of the competition on their artificial surface at the Coverall Stadium on Saturday, the result, more significantly also brought the curtain down on an unbelievably sour ten day period for the Colliers where they have exited the Techflow Marine Northumberland Senior Cup; the Brooks Mileson Memorial League Cup and now the Vase.

Two goals down inside the opening eight minutes, the gap widened even further with a third for the home side on 26 - and although Steve Bowey’s side made a fist if it with Glenn Caygill reducing the deficit shortly after half time, a brilliant effort from Nathan Mulligan put the tie to bed for the Teesiders with quarter of an hour remaining. Ironically a couple of days after Halloween, the Wansbeck visitors made a nightmare opening whilst Stockton - with bonfire night just around the corner - made a cracking start with a goal of genuine quality after only 80 seconds from Fred Woodhouse. Woodhouse exchanged a one-two with Peter Bulmer then let fly with a stunning left footer from 22 yards which arched away as it sped towards the top corner of the net leaving ‘keeper Conor Grant stranded.

Ashington’s riposte saw Chris Youldon's effort repelled by home ‘keeper Liam Jordan who claimed Jack Butler’s header from the rebound before the Anchors – kicking into the teeth of a strong wind - doubled their lead. Chris Stockton’s ball from the left went across the face of goal where Michael Roberts lashed in on the volley. Ten minutes later skipper David Edwards stroked a corner by Shaun Vipond wide but a ruthless Stockton side added a third with Roberts glancing a header inside the far post from a ball played in from the right.

On the half hour, Gez Richardson set up Butler whose effort was blocked by Jordan then a goal line clearance by Lee McAndrew denied Roberts his hat trick. However Ashington had a good spell as half time beckoned. Caygill, Youldon and McAndrew combined and when the latter crossed, Matthew Garbutt made a vital interception with Richardson ready to pounce. The Colliers had shouts for a penalty turned down after Zak Atkinson was caught inside the box but four minutes into the second period, Mulligan missed a glaring chance to wrap up the game up placing his shot over after a lay off by Roberts. And what a turning point that miss could have been as Caygill gave the Colliers renewed hope on the hour, heading superbly home from a McAndrew corner on the right.

Two minutes later, Butler squandered a golden opportunity to score what would have been a contender for goal of the season. The winger took the ball from his own half, leaving three defenders in his wake on a mesmerizing run but stroked his effort wide. The youngster then caused problems again and after a mazy dribble, set up Atkinson who somehow fired wide with the goal gaping.

However in the 74th minute, an extra special strike by Mulligan left Ashington’s dreams of a comeback in tatters. The midfielder had scored a dramatic late equaliser in the league clash between the two clubs last season - but on Saturday he topped that effort with a majestic right foot screamer from 25 yards which crashed inside the near post.

There was a late change in the lead up to the game with match referee Jonathon Bickerdike picking up an injury in the warm up. Assistant Tony Murphy took over the whistle with Stockton official Tony Coulson, a fully qualified referee, running the line.

Ashington: Grant, McAndrew, Armstrong (Hornsby 22 minutes), Henderson, Caygill, Edwards, Youldon (Norris 75 minutes), Vipond, Atkinson, Richardson, Butler

Subs not used: Wade, Bowey, Glasper (gk)

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