Injury time Newcastle Benfield goal dumps Ashington out of League Cup

Ashington defender James Harmison. Picture by Ian Appleby
Ashington defender James Harmison. Picture by Ian Appleby
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A goal deep into stoppage time by Newcastle Benfield striker Paul Brayson sent Ashington spiralling out of the League Cup after a 3-2 defeat at Woodhorn Lane on Tuesday evening.

The Colliers twice led on the night through the Harmison brothers, James and Ben, but after hitting back to level through Brayson and Lewis Scorgie, it was Brayson who had the final say.

The Sam Smiths Park outfit had turned in an outstanding display in a 5-1 drubbing of Ashington at the end of September, and they came close to an opener inside two minutes.

Brayson advanced but saw his low right footer smack against the foot of the post and rebound to safety with home keeper Conor Grant stationery.

Chances were non-existent until the 21st minute when Kyle Downey speculated with a drive from fully 30 yards which was held by Benfield keeper Andrew Grainger.

However, the long-serving stopper was left helpless only three minutes later as the home side took the lead.

An effort by Ryan McGorrigan was deflected behind for a corner on the right, and when Downey swung over the flag kick, James Harmison sent a thumping header from six yards inside the post.

The Colliers came close to doubling their lead on the half hour. Ben Harmison headed fractionally wide from a Shaun Henderson cross with Grainger stranded, then Ben Sampson found McGorrigan who poked wide from 16 yards.

In the 34th minute, Brayson dragged his shot wide after picking up a headed clearance, but 40 seconds later, Scott McCarthy was upended in the area by Shaun Bell and after Chester-le-Street-based referee Craig Dean had pointed to the spot, Brayson sent Grant the wrong way from the resultant penalty.

Ashington began the second period in positive fashion and within three minutes went close to regaining the lead. A crossfield ball from Henderson found McGorrigan who lobbed the advancing Grainger from 20 yards, but the ball hit the side-netting.

Grainger fisted out a 30 yarder from Downey before in the 52nd minute, Ben Harmison nudged his side in front for a second time, opening his body to slot home inside the corner after his initial shot had been blocked.

Sampson went close with a cross-shot, then in the 63rd minute McGorrigan beat this marker to cut inside along the byline only to pull the ball behind the incoming support players.

Midway through the period, Benfield levelled. A slip by Henderson allowed Dylan McEvoy to cross from the left where Scorgie, arriving at the back post, nodded in.

Downey found Dan O’Reilly with a great pass but the substitute, after cutting inside, skied the ball over.

An effort from distance by Downey was finger-tipped over by Grainger, then at the other end, a free kick by Brayson from 20 yards was parried away by Grant.

Benfield then delivered a knock out blow in the fourth minute of time added on.

Scorgie found Brayson and the ageless striker squeezed a left foot shot from a tight angle between Grant and the near post.

On Saturday, Ashington have an early opportunity for revenge when they travel to face Newcastle Benfield in a league game at Sam Smiths Park, kick-off 3pm.

Ashington: Grant, Henderson (O’Reilly 75), Salmon, Antony (R Bell 66), J Harmison, Buchanan, Sampson, S Bell, McGorrigan, B Harmison, Downey. Subs not used: Christensen, Dorman, Glasper.

Attendance: 148.