Ashington High School Sports College Under-18s football manager Marc Nash is hoping his outfit can break the mould when they take on local rivals Bedlington High School in the semi-final of the Chronicle County Cup at Green Lane on Thursday, March 27.
Nash’s side – who made history earlier in the year by reaching the last 16 of the ESFA National Cup before agonisingly going out on penalties against Wetherby – are second top of their league three points behind Monkseaton High but with a game in hand.
However, after successive midweek victories last week against Walker and the RGS, they turn their attentions to the County Cup semi-final showdown with Nash in upbeat mood.
“We are doing well and playing well,” he said at the weekend.
“The lads had a bit of a break after our exit against Wetherby but we came back strongly to beat Astley High 6-2 in the quarter-final of the County Cup.
“Last week in the league we beat Walker 4-0 and the RGS 6-4 and have five games left so it will be nip and tuck.
“I have been able to send out the same 11 who all know their jobs and the team has been settled, which has been a bonus.”
Nash, however, will have to make one alteration to the line-up for the Bedlington clash as central midfielder Kieran Park has left school.
“Kieran captained the side in his farewell match against the RGS and it was a poignant occasion as in the very last minute he set up a goal on a plate for Callum Johnston who consequently completed his hat-trick,” said Nash.
“We will train on the Tuesday before the semi-final and I will contemplate who will come in as Kieran’s replacement.
“We are all looking forward to the Bedlington clash because our local rivalry adds a bit spice to it, but from a personal level, I have lost three semi-finals in the past five years and hope the current group of lads can go one better.”
He continued: “Although Bedlington are in division two of the East League, they have already knocked out Cramlington and the RGS who are in our league, the first division, so we will have to be on our guard.
“We ourselves have had some big games this year which will hopefully stand us in good stead, and we will give our neighbours the respect they deserve.”
Ashington’s game against Bedlington has a 4.15pm kick-off.
Meanwhile Monkseaton High face Gosforth in the other semi-final clash.