Competition: Northumberland Senior Cup

Ashington vs West Allotment Celtic

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.


Ashington vs Newcastle University

By Brian Bennett

The scoreline suggests a 5-1 romp and easy win for Ashington over Newcastle University in their Newcastle Flooring Senior Cup first round clash on Tuesday night – only it doesn’t paint a true picture.

Indeed it was only after a late show with three goals inside the final quarter hour – two from substitute Scott Heslop and one from Wilson Kneeshaw – that the Colliers booked their place in the quarter finals.

The plucky students arrived at Woodhorn Lane after an eye catching 6-4 victory over Kendal Town in the Isuzu FA Vase on Saturday but they were rocked back on their heels as the Wansbeck side took the lead only 70 seconds into the contest.

Following work on the right, Wilson Kneeshaw crossed the ball into the centre of the goal where Declan Bisset had the easy task of side footing the ball home from close range.

Five minutes later, Ashington pieced together a great move which ended with Mason Hardy’s shot taking a deflection and going behind for a corner.

Just past the quarter hour mark, the University had a golden chance to restore parity – from the penalty spot.

Tolu Osiyemi cut inside the area where he was upended by Charlie Exley and referee Zak Kettle pointed to the spot.

Ben Miller stepped up and struck a powerful kick which saw home ‘keeper Ross Coombe dive low to his right and get a fingertip onto the ball before it cannoned off the post and was cleared to safety.

Minutes before the break, in what was a low key affair, Ashington had a great opportunity to double their lead. Kneeshaw stepped over Exley’s low cross from the left but Hardy fired over.

Then as the half entered the first few seconds of time added on, Coombe preserved Ashington’s lead.

The Students went direct and from ‘keeper Max Richardson’s clearance, Miller’s pass released ex Collier Jack Butler who was in on goal but saw his effort superbly blocked by the stopper.

Ten minutes after the interval, Ashington added a second when Bisset found a bit of space and unleashed a right foot thunderbolt from 25 yards which took a deflection before the ball crashed inside the top corner.

Hardy had a header cleared off the line following good work down the left flank between Exley and Kneeshaw then at the other end, a shot from James Matthews whistled just wide.

Ashington failed to heed the warning and midway through the half, the University halved the deficit with a terrific strike.

Joel Burgess claimed the assist with an incisive ball which cut through the home defence and Christopher Pearson – who had only been on the field two minutes as a substitute – made no mistake as his whipped cross shot from the right gave Coombe no chance as it rocketed inside the upright.

Ashington then introduced Scott Heslop – and it was the striker whose quickfire double put the tie beyond the students.

In the 73rd minute, Damen Mullen swung over a corner from the right to the far post where Heslop powered home a header.

Sub Ben Sampson then played a lovely ball through for Heslop who drifted wide before firing across Richardson and inside the bottom corner.

Three minutes from time the Colliers went nap when a shot by sub Craig Spooner was pushed out by Richardson and Kneeshaw slotted home the rebound.

The score line flattered Ashington but incredibly they could have added a sixth only sixty seconds later.

Heslop had a chance to complete his hat-trick when he latched onto a through pass from Sampson but scuffed his shot which ran through to Richardson.