By Brian Bennett
Ashington FC coach Ritchie Hill was delighted on Tuesday night after the Colliers had won their quarter final tie in the Newcastle Flooring Northumberland Senior Cup against a plucky West Allotment Celtic outfit by a single goal at Woodhorn Lane.
Hill said afterwards: “In cup football it’s all about the result and tonight is fantastic for us as a club and gives us something to look forward to – a semi-final. The pitch was difficult and there was a little bit of a breeze and although I thought the performance by the lads was at times below par, sometimes you’ve got to give credit to the opposition. They (West Allotment Celtic) came here and gave a really good account of themselves and some of them will be sat in that changing room thinking that on another night it could have been their side who had got through.”
Dan Maguire’s goal in the fifth minute settled the outcome and Hill added: “We scored early on – something which we had talked about before the game and which I thought was an absolute must but we didn’t kick on. We were slow in possession whilst out of possession I didn’t think we put enough pressure on the ball to disrupt them (West Allotment Celtic) and it made for a bit of a scrappy first half in fairness. At times we moved the ball and opened them up and we were desperate for that second goal which would have just settled us – and the crowd – down a bit and perhaps then we would have gone on to win more convincingly. However when the game is in the balance at 1-0, the opposition are always going to have a little bit of a go towards the end – and they did that.”
Hill handed out special praise to ‘keeper Ross Coombe: “Dan Maguire scored the all important goal for us but our progress was down to Ross,” he said, “He has bided his time and his attitude has been great. Ross came in tonight and didn’t have a great deal to do but then when he was called upon in the 90th minute, he’s pulled off a one handed save that the best ‘keepers in the world would have been pleased with.”
He continued: “This cup tie had been cancelled a few times and it was always going to be a game which we looked at to perhaps play one or two players who haven’t had many minutes. We did that with the likes of Morgan Dart plus Cam Gascoigne and Ben Sampson who came on as substitutes and it was nice to see both of them back on the pitch. In Ben’s case, it was good to get 20-25 minutes into his system as he’s been out for four or five games.”
He concluded: “All in all the main purpose of tonight was to win the game and get through to the semi final of the competition – and we’ve done that.”