Ashington boss Gary Middleton described Tuesday night’s 3-1 victory over Tow Law in the Brooks Mileson Memorial League Cup as being a ‘fantastic feeling’.
But he added that it had been a relief to win the game in the 90 minutes.
A delighted Middleton will now prepare his troops for a semi-final clash against Marske United at Woodhorn Lane on Easter Monday at 3pm.
He said: “It was always going to be a tricky fixture up here because Tow Law is a hard place to come on the best of days, and coupled with that we faced a difficult pitch.
“However, I thought we looked comfortable in the game from start to finish without actually putting the ball into the back of the net.”
He continued: “We took the lead through Glen Taylor from a good set piece but then had a couple of great chances to go further ahead by half-time.
“Andrew Johnson was put through by a mistake from the Tow Law keeper and after that we’ve had a couple of half opportunities in their penalty box, but it wasn’t to be.
“We made a mistake early doors in the second half and unfortunately it gave them the chance to level.”
But Middleton thought his side deserved to go through.
“After the equaliser, it was all us with the odd counter attack from them without us killing the game off until the last ten minutes,” he said.
“It was a bit of a relief to win in normal time but I thought we more than deserved to do it.
“It was quite difficult to play any sort of football but we went about things the right way.”
Central lynchpin James Taylor came through a late fitness test on a leg injury – but the boss praised the defensive unit in general.
“The whole of the back four operated superbly well and looked quite solid, making good decisions for most of the 90 minutes,” he said.
“James Taylor struggled to turn out having picked up a knock in the game against Dunston UTS on Saturday, and probably on another day would not have played.
“Recent signing Alex Downey and James (Taylor) have not played together very much this season, but they both did well as a partnership – as did full backs Scott Blandford and Lance McGlen.”
While Ashington take on Marske United at Woodhorn Lane, second division Whitehaven will have home advantage in the other semi-final against Whitley Bay, also on Easter Monday afternoon.
“It is a fantastic feeling to have reached the semi-finals,” concluded Middleton.