Johnson double helps Ashington advance in FA Cup

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Andrew Johnson scored twice as Ashington swept Holker Old Boys aside in their FA Cup extra preliminary round replay at Woodhorn Lane on Tuesday night.

Johnson’s brace came in the second half to add to a goal on the half hour from Glen Taylor.

But it could have been a different story had the Stags not missed several chances inside the opening 25 minutes.

Following Saturday’s 2-2 draw in Cumbria, it was the visitors who caused the early problems.

Bradley Hubbold played the ball into the danger zone but Jordan Brough, arriving at the far post, failed to connect.

If that served as a wake up call for the Colliers, it was not heeded as only minutes later Holker broke quickly from an Ashington corner but on this occasion, Hubbold’s weak drive was held by keeper Chris Bannon.

Brough and Hubbold combined again with the latter’s shot being kicked out by Bannon before the Wansbeck side eventually carved out their first chance in the 19th minute.

Richard Flynn headed wide from a free kick by James Novak.

The close call gave the Colliers confidence and after James Taylor’s shot had been deflected behind for a corner, Richie Slaughter inspired their next move.

He worked tirelessly towards the touchline to initially keep the ball in play before playing a one-two with Novak, and when the midfielder crossed, Johnson lifted his shot over the bar.

It was the best move of the game and brought warm applause from the home fans – but two minutes later, Brough wasted another golden opportunity for the Cumbrians as he fired wide across Bannon.

A volley by Slaughter was touched behind but on the half hour, Glen Taylor broke the deadlock.

A delightful cross-field pass from James Taylor found Johnson on the left and from his low cross into the danger zone, Glen Taylor slid the ball home.

Before the interval, Slaughter and Dean Critchlow had other opportunities, then right on the stroke of half-time, a cross by Glen Taylor was cleared off the line by Daniel Pattinson.

Ashington got the perfect start to the second half when five minutes in they doubled their lead through skipper Johnson.

A cross by Lance McGlen was intercepted but Holker immediately lost possession to Johnson who cut inside the area and fired home from a tight angle on the right.

Now more relaxed, the home side produced a mixed bag with some of their play exhilarating whilst at other times frustrating.

But after a header from Glen Taylor had clipped the post and an audacious 35 yards drive from James Taylor had flashed wide, they effectively killed the tie off with a third goal ten minutes from time.

Glen Taylor glanced on a free kick by McGlen for Johnson who drove the ball into the far corner after arriving at the far post.

Then in the last minute of time added on for stoppages, a shot from Holker skipper Philip Coombe thudded against the bar and was cleared.

Ashington now travel to face Bradford-based Albion Sports on Saturday week (August 30).

Ashington: Bannon, McGlen, Novak, Flynn, J Taylor (Downey 77), Christensen, Johnson, Robson (Walton 79), Critchlow (Oliver 77), G Taylor, Slaughter. Subs not used: Elliott, Barnard.

Attendance: 212.