Stockton Town



Ashington AFC

Sat 31 Aug 2019 | FA Vase | Away


The Coverall Stadium




Mark Ryan



By Brian Bennett

In the end, Stockton’s victory in this Buildbase FA Vase match was convincing – totally convincing. Ashington had arguably put together their best 45 minutes of the season in the first half – but all of their hard endeavours were undone at the start of the second period as a whirlwind spell saw the Teesiders cruise into a three goals lead by the hour mark.

Two seasons ago, the Anchors graced the hallowed Wembley turf in the final, losing by a single goal against Thatcham Town and they currently sit second top of the Ebac Northern League with a 100 per cent record. Ashington’s task was mammoth - and they could have trailed as early as the first minute when Lewis King whipped over a cross which was picked up by Jamie Owens but he failed to get a clean connection with his effort and ‘keeper Adam McHugh held comfortably. However, the Colliers looked organised and the home side’s attempts to unlock the door were rebuffed by a resolute back four. It was on the quarter hour mark before Ashington had their first shot – an audacious lob from 35 yards by Dan Taggart – which ‘keeper Lee Roberts held under the bar then good build up play involving Ben Sampson and Taggart ended with Dylan Williamson’s shot taking a deflection and rolling into Roberts’ hands.

Twice within the space of as many minutes, midfielder Tom Portas whistled drives narrowly off target and just before half time, Owens was through but saw his shot blocked.

Ashington boss Ian Skinner asked for more of the same after the break – but after only 58 seconds, his plans were ripped to smithereens as Kevin Hayes glided across the edge of the area then let fly with a low left footer which beat McHugh inside his near post. Four minutes later it was two when a deep cross from the right found Jordan Robinson who headed home with ease.

The Colliers will look back on the 53rd minute as being a turning point. Karl Ross pumped the ball into the box and Taggart connected flush with a half volley which was goalbound until it struck Thomas Coulthard who required treatment.

Barely five minutes later and the tie was over. Robinson played the ball across from the right and it was a simple side foot finish by Owens for goal number three. Stockton were carving Ashington apart and minutes later Robinson volleyed over before referee Mark Ryan sustained a groin injury. He was replaced by assistant Paul Charnock with Ryan taking over on the line.

The hosts had another effort ruled out for offside but seconds later, Ashington gifted away possession and paid the penalty as Hayes grabbed his second and Stockton’s fourth rolling the ball home. In stoppage time, substitute Jamie Hanson was clean through but saw his shot touched away by Roberts then at the other end, Nathan Mulligan had a great chance to make it five but his shot was cleared off the line by Marc Lancaster.

Ashington: McHugh, Gibson, Lancaster, Herron (Hanson 75 minutes), Caines (Lowery 75 minutes), Coppen, Sampson, Luke, Taggart, Williamson (Johnston 75 minutes), Ross

Subs not used: Kalthoeber, D Anderson, O’Reilly, Antony


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