Ashington end season with win over FA Vase finalists

A brave header by James Taylor gave Ashington a late 3-2 victory at FA Vase finalists Morpeth Town. Picture by Ian Appleby
A brave header by James Taylor gave Ashington a late 3-2 victory at FA Vase finalists Morpeth Town. Picture by Ian Appleby

Morpeth Town and Hereford will grace the hallowed Wembley turf on Sunday week when they contest the final of the FA Vase.

At Craik Park on Saturday, and in an explosive opening, the first two goals of the five would not have looked out of place at the home of football in what developed into an entertaining spectacle.

In the corresponding game at Woodhorn Lane in mid September, Morpeth’s Sean Taylor was outstanding as he scored a hat-trick in his side’s 3-1 victory.

Last weekend, Taylor was at it again. He netted both of Morpeth’s goals, the first after only 91 seconds being extra special as he curled a superb effort from the edge of the penalty area wide of the outstretched arms of keeper Conor Grant with the ball finding the top corner.

But in the ninth minute, Ashington skipper Andrew Johnson arguably topped Taylor’s stunning strike with a beauty of his own.

He picked up possession from a headed clearance, chested the ball down then executed an exquisite right footed lob from 25 yards which sailed over advanced keeper Niall Harrison and into the net.

On the quarter hour, a pass from Paul Robinson released Luke Carr, but James Harmison made a vital block ushering the ball out for a corner.

Before the break, Carr and Robinson worked a short corner on the right with the former firing wide at the near post, then Chris Jewels had a header from a Carr flag kick held by Grant.

Three minutes into the second half the Colliers went in front.

Lee Scott met an in-swinging corner by Johnson but his effort was pushed round by Harrison, and from the second flag kick taken by Kyle Oliver, Grieve’s glancing header crept inside the far post.

Morpeth hit back and after Grant had clawed down a shot from Carr, the equaliser arrived in the 56th minute.

A header from Stephen Forster hit the bar and was only half cleared to Jordan Fry who fed Robinson. The midfielder played the ball through for Taylor who side-footed home from 12 yards.

The final quarter hour saw thrills and spills as both sides went in search of a winner.

For Morpeth, Anderson fired over then Taylor went close to another hat-trick but his right foot screamer narrowly cleared the bar.

With only four minutes of normal time left, Ashington got their noses in front for a second time.

They forced a corner on the left and when Gunn swung it over to the near post, Taylor planted a firm header into the net.

Minutes later Anderson had a shot kicked out by Grant and the same player was denied in the penalty area by a combination of Harmison and Grieve.

Denton Burn-based official Mick McDonough then blew the whistle for the last time, not only to bring the match to a conclusion but also to mark his final game as a referee.

Morpeth Town: Harrison, Henderson, Forster, Robinson, Hall, Jewels, S Taylor, Bell (Graydon 61), Carr (McAndrew 68), Fry, Anderson. Subs not used: Taggert, Pearson, Swailes.

Ashington: Grant, Christensen, Oliver, Loughborough (J Taylor 60), J Harmison, Grieve, Gunn, Downey (Harvey 80), Scott, Bulford (Stevens 64). Johnson. Sub not used: Hall.