By Brian Bennett
An early goal from striker Dan Maguire proved to be the match winner which sent Ashington through to the semi finals of the Newcastle Flooring Northumberland Senior Cup on Tuesday night and set the Colliers up for a home clash against Newcastle United Under 23’s or Bedlington Terriers.
Maguire struck in the fifth minute, blasting home the rebound after Connor Thomson’s shot had been parried by Allotment ‘keeper Dan Gladstone.
The tie – which went ahead at the fourth time of asking – had been switched from Palmersville to Ashington but on a bitterly cold evening in Wansbeck, it was a contest which never reached any great heights.
The Colliers missed opportunities to add to their lead which would have given them some much needed breathing space and as the game entered four minutes of stoppage time, they were indebted to ‘keeper Ross Coombe for their progress as he pulled off two brilliant saves.
The visitors from the Ebac Northern League’s first division went into the clash on the back of two excellent away wins against Birtley Town and Redcar Athletic respectively – and they could have made a sensational start.
In the opening minute, Ashington lost possession and Mikel Thompson’s right footed drive smacked against the post and was cleared.
Craig Spooner provided the through pass to Thomson which led to Maguire’s opener and the Colliers could have doubled their lead within 60 seconds when Wilson Kneeshaw was clean through but he failed to get enough purchase on his attempted chip over Gladstone and the stopper was grateful to claim the ball at chest height.
On the quarter hour, another chance went begging when Maguire set up Thomson but his right footer was parried by Gladstone.
Play switched to the other end and after a blistering run down the left from Guilherme Baltazar, the striker cut inside but dragged his shot wide.
The visitors were looking a threat going forward and after a run and cross by Kyle Cockburn, it took an excellent clearance from Ben Williams to snuff out the danger.
In the 34th minute, Thomson raided down the left flank but his cross for the incoming Kneeshaw was fractionally too high and Gladstone intervened.
Then just before the interval, Ashington pieced together the best move of the half which initially involved Morgan Dart, Paul Van-Zandvliet and skipper Karl Ross. The latter found Thomson but his shot missed the far post by millimetres.
Early in the second period, Ashington spurned another couple of openings.
Si Jakab passed to Maguire and when he crossed, Kneeshaw headed wide then Maguire got possession on the right but fired over.
Just past the hour mark, Kneeshaw ran through and rounded Gladstone but his goalbound effort was cleared off the line by the retrieving Joshua Stewart before substitute Ben Sampson, Dart and Kneeshaw combined to set up Spooner whose shot was blocked.
The second half had been virtually devoid of chances until the visitors gave a final push in the closing stages.
With three minutes of the 90 remaining, they had the ball in the net but the goal was ruled out for a foul on Coombe – before the home ‘keeper was the hero of the hour.
Cyril Giraud burst through into the area and looked a certain scorer until his effort was pushed aside by Coombe who also pulled off a smart save minutes later.
|Northumberland Senior Cup