By Brian Bennett
Ashington started the season with a bang on Saturday when they delivered a knockout
blow to local rivals North Shields after an emphatic 4-0 victory in their Emirates FA Cup
extra preliminary round match at Woodhorn Lane.
New signings Cameron Gascoigne and Wilson Kneeshaw featured prominently. The
former broke the deadlock early in the clash before Kneeshaw netted either side of the
interval before Craig Spooner added a fourth goal with half an hour remaining.
Colliers manager Ian Skinner had said before the game that he was anticipating a tough
match but Gascoigne’s opener on 11 minutes – strangely to be the first of only three
highlights in the first half – completely changed the dynamics.
Darren Lough clipped the ball down the left flank to Spooner who crossed into the
middle of the area to the unmarked Gascoigne who slotted home from eight yards wide
of ‘keeper Jonny Ball.
It was a dream start – and the goal certainly gave the Wansbeck outfit a boost to spray
the ball around with confidence and dominate proceedings.
Ashington’s second arrived in the 35 th minute when Dan Maguire played an intelligent
pass which released Kneeshaw through on goal and the striker made no mistake,
driving the ball past the advancing Ball.
Then with half time imminent, Ashington were awarded a free kick 30 yards out.
Spooner took it and whipped a delightful right footer which smacked against the inside of
the post and bounced clear.
However, the home side did not have to wait long before they added a third.
Just two minutes into the second period, Spooner raided down the left and when his
cross was smashed against the bar by Gascoigne, the rebound fell to Kneeshaw who
calmly stroked the ball inside the bottom corner.
Then just past the hour mark, Spooner made it four.
Maguire found Kneeshaw on the right and when the newcomer cut the ball back,
Spooner nonchalantly side footed into the net.
Midway through Thomas Potter fired over for the Robins whilst Ashington had
opportunities to go nap at the other end.
Ben Sampson and substitute Mason Hardy combined to set up Maguire whose shot was
blocked and when the ball broke to Hardy, he curled a low left footer narrowly wide.
In the final quarter hour, Ashington’s play turned sloppy yet five minutes from time, sub
Damen Mullen stroked past the post after being set up by Spooner.
*The Colliers will now travel to play Stockton Town in the preliminary round on Saturday
*Ashington commence their programme in the Pitching In Northern Premier League on
Saturday (August 12). The Wansbeck side are at home to Brighouse Town (3pm kick-
off) then on Tuesday (August 15) make the trip to face Newton Aycliffe.
Ashington: Dryden, Dopson, Summerly, Ross, Buddle, Lough, Gascoigne (Hardy 62
minutes), Sampson, Maguire (Mullen 83 minutes), Spooner, Kneeshaw (Aziakonou 77
minutes). Subs not used: Exley, Coombe (gk)
Referee: Michael Moore