Ashington High School’s National Cup game abandoned for ‘players’ safety’

Ashington High players watch on as Harry Bainbridge's header flies into the goal in their match at Wetherby. Picture by Ian Appleby
Ashington High players watch on as Harry Bainbridge's header flies into the goal in their match at Wetherby. Picture by Ian Appleby
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A football game involving Ashington High School Sports College had to be abandoned on Friday to protect the players’ safety.

The under-18s were 2-1 down in their ESFA National Cup at Wetherby when the referee was forced to abandon the game after an hour.

It followed an off the ball incident and with only a referee officiating it was decided to stop the game.

The stoppage left Ashington manager Marc Nash shocked.

“I am absolutely devastated. You come this far in the competition and look forward to these occasions.

“We hosted the game in the last round and did all we could and we have come down here with a place in the quarter-finals at stake and it has not been very good with one official refereeing the game and no neutral assistants, which led to incidents.

He continued: “The first thing was to ensure the players’ safety with the result meaningless after that, but we could not continue without three neutral officials.

“We are going to try and restage the game this week, possibly at a neutral venue – but hopefully with three officials.”

As for the game, the team boss reflected on a first half which saw his outfit up against it before they hit back prior to the interval.

“We struggled early doors and were not brave enough in possession,” he said.

“Wetherby played with a bit of intensity, like a club side.

“They are used to playing at that level whilst we found it hard adjusting to it and could not get any foothold in the game at all.

“We defended quite well and I was encouraged by the last ten minutes of the half because we were getting a bit of joy in there final third.

“We knew it would be tough but we just needed to weather it and it was an unfortunate own goal before half-time by Matty Bone.

“Had we gone in 0-0, I would have been really confident.”

Nash felt much happier with his side after the interval’ despite them falling 2-0 behind ten minutes in.

He added: “I told the lads at half-time that they needed to be more brave and to put there foot on the ball and try to play when they could.

“I thought we did that and although Wetherby sneaked a second goal from a set piece, I thought we came back well and scored at a really good time.

“It looked as if we might get a bit of momentum going but we will never find out what the outcome would have been because unfortunately the game just unravelled after that and was consequently abandoned.”