By Brian Bennett

Adam Johnson was delighted to get off the mark – after the striker netted his first goal of the season for Ashington in their 3-0 win over Ashton United in the Emirates FA Cup first qualifying round replay at Woodhorn Lane on Tuesday night.

The 25 year old – who came off the bench just past the midway point in the second period – scored in the 82nd minute. Yannick Aziakonou won possession and when Craig Spooner hit a long ball forward, it was back headed by an Ashton defender. Johnson – after running from well inside his own half – latched onto it before unleashing a brilliant left foot strike which flew into the net.

Ashington-born Johnson said afterwards: “I’ve had no luck so far as I’ve hit the woodwork and had near misses and as a forward it’s all about confidence. Once one (goal) goes into the net it seems as if all the pressure comes off your shoulders and you can play freely – and that’s how I feel tonight. I reckon I’m quicker than probably any centre half we’ll ever play against so if I can get half a yard, it’s just a case of taking my time, picking my spot and hitting the ball.”

Johnson admitted that once he struck the shot, he knew it was going to find the net: “When the ball came through to me, the defender almost caught me up so it was all about getting away from him. To be fair with the ‘keeper in the middle of the goal, the near post was vacant and it was one of those where as soon as the ball left my foot I knew it was going in.”

Johnson also applauded the fanatical Ashington supporters who encouraged their team throughout the contest: “They were our 12th man,” he said, “They always are – and tonight they definitely played their part and made a difference.”