LAWRENCE McKenna’s late, late winner clinched Heaton Stannington the Kicks Leisure George Dobbins League Cup and left Ashington Colliers with broken hearts after a close fought final at Killingworth’s Amberley Park ground last midweek.
McKenna struck with the decisive goal 90 seconds into time added on at the end of the second period, just when it looked as if the teams were heading for 30 minutes of extra time.
McKenna stabbed home after a low cross from the right giving Colliers keeper Craig Towart no chance.
Both sides had openings in the first half, Dylan Williamson, Joe Moscrop and Glen Bolton missing out for the Colliers, as well as Bolton seeing his header from a David Brown free kick thud against the upright.
For Stannington, Andrew Weeks had a header cleared off the line whilst McKenna went through but fired wide.
Similarly on the hour, Williamson latched onto a clearance from Towart but after a great run, lifted his shot over with only keeper Shaun Backhouse to beat.
Towart made a superb save ten minutes from time to thwart McKenna but with extra time just around the corner, McKenna was not to be denied finding the net from close range.
Colliers manager David Brown was left devastated by McKenna’s late goal.
Brown emerged from a silent dressing room afterwards and declared: “I was shattered at losing a goal at that stage of the game because I honestly thought that extra time was looming.
“You could hear a pin drop in our dressing room and I said to the lads ‘take a good look at your despondent team-mates and don’t let it happen again’.”
Brown conceded that his opponents had had the better of the first half but thought his own side would look back and rue missed opportunities.
“They had one very good chance but overall we had the more clear cut openings,” he said.
“Second half, I thought for a spell of 15 to 20 minutes we had three or four good chances, but to be honest they got a little bit on top in the last ten minutes through our own fault because we gave the ball away too cheaply.”
Brown, however, was proud of his players despite the loss.
He added: “Yes, I’m very disappointed – the lads put a good shift in and worked hard throughout the team, but I also thought they were a credit to Ashington CFC; were very mature in defeat and can hold their heads up high.”
Ashington Colliers: Towart, Ingram, Brown, Bolton, Nickalls, Rees, Watson, Cunningham, Hogg, Williamson (Gibson 80 mins), Moscrop. Subs not used: Carr, Burgess, Davidson, Storey.
Ashington Colliers already have their first friendly of next season lined up with an away trip to STL Northern League second division side Brandon United on Saturday, July 30.