Ashington High School Sports College’s senior vice-principal Gary Douglas could not speak highly enough of the under-18’s football squad despite the Wansbeck side going out of the ESFA National Cup against Wetherby High School on Friday following a dramatic and agonising penalty shoot-out.
A goal down early in the contest, Ashington fought back to lead 3-1 at half-time with strikes from Callum Johnston (2) and Luke Robinson – only for the home side to rally after the break and take the game into extra time.
Following further stalemate, the match went to spot kicks which Wetherby won 5-4 with Ashington’s last effort smacking against the bar.
However, a disappointed but clearly upbeat Douglas, who stepped into the breach as team manager for the unavailable Marc Nash, said: “First and foremost, I must offer congratulations to the boys and to team manager Marc Nash for a fantastic cup run.
“It’s a shame it has come to an end, and to be defeated on penalties after being in a good position is hard to take.
“But credit to the lads for the way they conducted themselves and everyone at our school is very proud of them.”
Reflecting on a game which was played amidst awful conditions, he added: “It was full of ups and downs.
“At the break we were delighted with the position we were in as we held a 3-1 lead, but at full-time we were back to square one.
“It was disappointing to lose the second half 2-0 then after extra time we went to penalties and unfortunately have lost on this occasion.
“Wetherby are a strong side, although at this stage of the competition we were not expecting an easy ride.
“However, everyone within the football development programme at Ashington High School Sports College has learned a lot from this cup run and I’m hopeful we will come back stronger next year.”