By Brian Bennett
Ashington are out of this season’s Techflow Marine Northumberland Senior Cup after they went down 3-1 against Heaton Stannington in their quarter final tie at Grounsell Park on Wednesday night.
The Colliers dominated for large periods of what was a rip roaring cup tie played at a furious pace throughout but were made to pay the penalty for a sloppy opening quarter hour as the home side scored twice in ten minutes through Konner Lamb and Jordan Lashley.
In the second half, the Wansbeck side continued to pile on the pressure but a combination of resolute defending by the hosts coupled with Ashington’s poor quality in the final third saw them exit the competition.
And just to rub salt into sore wounds, the home side put the game beyond doubt two minutes from the end of normal time with a third goal by substitute James Proctor.
The two sides have now met on three occasions this season; Heaton Stannington winning twice; the other match drawn – but watched by a crowd of 285, this was the best of the trio.
The game got off to a sensational start as Konner Lamb gave his side the lead in the fifth minute following a slick move.
The Stan played out despite Ashington’s high press and when the ball was played up front, it was flicked through for Lamb who cut inside onto his right foot and curled a sumptuous right footer from the edge of the box which gave ‘keeper Kyle Hayes no chance as it thundered into the far corner.
Ashington hit back forcing successive corners on the left and from the latter, Dean Briggs had an effort cleared off the line.
In the tenth minute, Karl Ross slotted the ball through for Craig Spooner but his shot was saved by ‘keeper Greg Purvis and Dan Maguire was off target from the rebound.
Heaton stunned their visitors when they added a second on the quarter hour.
Andrew Cartwright lost possession inside his own half and after a shot was deflected across the box, ex Ashington striker Jordan Lashley slotted home.
And only the sharp reflexes of Hayes prevented a third in the 24th minute.
Daniel Stephenson took a left footed free-kick which was tipped onto the post and behind for a corner by the ‘keeper.
Ashington continued to press but Briggs lashed an effort over and Spooner drove a foot wide of the upright following a cross by Ben Sampson.
However they got a lifeline five minutes before the interval when Briggs advanced into the area before he was sent sprawling by a tackle from a defender.
Referee Darren Williams awarded a penalty and Damen Mullen emphatically despatched the spot kick into the top corner of the net.
It was a half which the Colliers didn’t want to end – but after the break they nevertheless picked up where they left off, totally dominating the ball but lacking a cutting edge up top.
Indeed inside the first couple of minutes, Cartwright found Sampson and when he crossed, Briggs had a shot blocked then Maguire had an effort superbly turned around by Purvis.
But that was as good as it got for the Colliers and although they continually knocked on the door, the home outfit showed great determination and resilience to keep it firmly shut.
Then in the 88th minute, Hayes made a spectacular save as he dived full length to his right to keep out a free kick from Nicholas Cassidy but substitute Proctor pounced to slot home the rebound.
The win sees The Stan move into the semi finals where they will face the winners of the North Shields v Blyth Spartans clash on home soil.