Ashington’s Scott Blandford is hoping his team-mates find top gear on Tuesday, March 18, when they attempt to topple Blyth Spartans in their Northumberland Senior Cup semi-final clash at Woodhorn Lane.
After missing out as Ashington won the trophy last season, Blandford is hoping his side can once again secure a place in the final at St James’ Park.
And Blandford, who works on the production line at car giants Nissan and who in his earlier years was a ball boy at Newcastle, would clearly yearn for a repeat of his personal success four years ago when his magnificent effort clinched a 3-2 extra time semi-final win over the Croft Park outfit at Woodhorn Lane.
The 29-year-old vividly recalls one of his golden moments under the Woodhorn Lane floodlights.
“I don’t know whether I would describe it as being my best ever goal, but it was certainly one of the most crucial I have scored in my career because it got us through,” he said.
“Glen Taylor dropped the ball back to Steven Baptist who went on a dribble then slipped the ball to me. I was one-on-one with the keeper and just hit it with my right foot and it screamed into the top corner.
“There were less than five minutes to go and I immediately thought that it could be the winner.
“Blyth had hit the post on a couple of occasions but they were playing at an even higher level than they are now so it was a terrific win.”
Blandford rejoined Ashington earlier in the campaign after a period out the game.
“I played for Blyth at the start of last season and had the first ten games before injuring my knee,” he said.
“I took a back seat, then had family commitments, but was delighted to return to Ashington this term.”
Blandford has been building up his fitness over the past eight weeks.
He added: “I did my hamstring,, then after making a recovery, returned to the starting line-up against West Auckland.
“I got a bit more hunger and have worked on my fitness over the past two months and am enjoying my football a lot more.”
Blandford reckons Ashington need to be clinical in front of goal against Spartans.
“It is a level game on paper,” he added, “but we need to click up front and if we take our opportunities then we will have a chance.”