Johnson’s delight in Vase win saddened by personal grief

Ashington's Samuel Norris applauds Andrew Johnson who buries the loose ball into the Thackley net in their FA Vase tie. Picture by Ian Appleby
Ashington's Samuel Norris applauds Andrew Johnson who buries the loose ball into the Thackley net in their FA Vase tie. Picture by Ian Appleby

By his own admission, Andrew Johnson could not have written a better script on Saturday.

Ashington’s skipper took his side through to the last 32 of the FA Vase after scoring the only goal against Thackley.

But underneath the elation, Johnson held a personal secret after hearing of the death of his grandad, Andy Johnson, in the early hours of Saturday morning.

And the 26 year old, who assigned both goals he scored in the 3-2 away victory at Shildon recently to his grandad when he was in the Newcaste RVI, was quick to mark his passing by again dedicating what was his 18th goal of the campaign to him.

Johnson – a project officer for the Newcastle United Foundation – said: “I was devastated when I heard the sad news. I was very close to my grandad who was my biggest fan as well as biggest critic, and most of all I wanted us to win the game on Saturday.

“However, to get the winner topped it off – it was the icing on the cake.

“Even after the news of his death and although I got very little sleep, I was always going to play against Thackley because my grandad would have wanted me too.

“For the past five weeks he had been in the palliative care unit at Wansbeck General Hospital, and I speak on behalf of my family in praising the staff who were fantastic.”

As for his side’s progress, Johnson said: “I was delighted – and I thought we deserved it too.

“We were the better team in the first half, where I thought Marc Walton and Glen Taylor were brilliant up front and got the better of their defenders.

“We were a threat going forward and always looked as if we could score and should have made it more comfortable for ourselves with chances missed in the second half and put the game out of sight.

“However, I thought it was a comfortable win as I did not think we were in any danger.”