Ashington High School Sports College’s under-18 football side had already made history by qualifying for the last 16 of the ESFA Cup.
But their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals and a home tie against Carre’s Grammar School near Rotherham ended in heartache last Friday when they went out to Wetherby High School after a penalty shoot-out.
The game – a rematch after the previous encounter had been abandoned after an hour for the safety of the players following a series of off the ball incidents – was contested despite bitterly cold conditions and driving rain throughout.
And it was the home side – dominant in the opening 20 minutes – who nudged ahead early in proceedings.
However, the Wansbeck outfit came back into the game and after drawing level in the 25th minute when Callum Johnston scored with a direct free kick from 20 yards, the same player put the visitors in front five minutes later with a finish from six yards.
Shortly afterwards and following good work, Johnston turned provider to set up Luke Robinson who slotted home from inside the box leaving the home keeper stranded.
It was an incredible turnaround – and things went from bad to worse for the Yorkshire side when they had a player red carded before the interval.
However, the ten men rallied, putting Ashington under a lot of pressure from the start of the second period, and within five minutes, after the post had saved the visitors the ball was rolled across the face of goal which resulted in a second for Wetherby.
Unfortunately for the visitors, more consistent pressure from Wetherby saw them equalise before the hour mark.
The Green Lane outfit fashioned a couple of half chances on the break and on one occasion Adam Bains was foiled.
Play then evened out until the end of normal time and the pattern continued throughout extra time as both sides ran out of steam after having braved the appalling conditions.
A penalty shoot-out ensued and after nine good strikes – with neither keeper getting anywhere near to making a save – Ashington’s last effort struck the bar.