Spartans see off Ashington in Senior Cup quarter-final

Blyth Spartans confidentially dispatched Northern League Ashington to progress into the semi-finals of the Northumberland Senior Cup on Tuesday evening.

Goals from Danny Parker, Damen Mullen and Chris Bell saw off the Colliers and put Tom Wade’s side into the last four with a very impressive display.

The home side had the first chance of the game in the tenth minute as Damen Mullen’s free kick from the right found the head of Parker but the centre back was denied by a reaction save by former team-mate Conor Grant.

However, Parker was not to be denied on the quarter of an hour mark as he gave Spartans the lead with his first goal of the season.

The former Bishop Auckland defender rose above Richard Flynn to crash home a header from eight yards out as he met another Mullen free kick from the right.

It was almost two ten minutes later as Neal Hooks fired a pinpoint through ball to release Dan Maguire in towards the edge of the Colliers area. He danced past Flynn but could only drive against the legs of Grant and Mullen smashed the rebound over from around 20 yards.

Spartans continued to dominate and with ten minutes of the half remaining Alex Nicholson’s cross from the right hand side found Arran Wearmouth but the winger just misjudged the flight of the ball and flicked wide.

As the half-time whistle was blown Spartans could look back on a solid opening 45 period.

Within minutes of the second half starting Spartans almost doubled their lead as Maguire found space on the right of the area and smashed a ball across the face of goal only for the alert defending of Lance McGlen to clear the ball from virtually on the goal line and deny Wearmouth a first of the season.

The lead was doubled on 49 minutes as some neat hold up play from Maguire saw him given the chance to release the on-rushing Mullen, and the Colliers midfield failed to track his run and he skipped around Grant and rolled the ball home.

Two almost became three but the agility of Grant saw him deny Mullen a second.

A wonderfully accurate chip into the area by Hooks found Bell and his first time lay off fell to Mullen on the edge of the area, and his chip deflected off the knee of Shaw and looked set to drop into the net but Grant acrobatically tipped on to the bar and wide.

There was nothing the former Spartan could do just before the hour mark, however, as Bell got his first goal for the club.

Hooks intercepted a wayward pass in midfield and took his time to pick out Bell who controlled the ball before dinking over Grant and into the net.

On 62 minutes the visitors had their first chance of the game as a loose ball on the edge of the area dropped to Andrew Johnson, but the one-time Spartans target could only hook over the bar.

Maguire came close to extending Spartans’ lead but was denied by Grant after an intricate through ball by Mullen had released the striker in on goal.

Chances kept coming and Ryan Cummings almost came the third Spartan to grab his first goal of the season with a low right foot drive from 20 yards that stung the palms of Grant.

Spartans were rightly looking confident and Hooks and Mullen were dictating matters in midfield which only lead to more chances.

It was the duo who combined for the next one as Mullen found Hooks on the edge of the area with a quickly taken corner but the former Ilkeston man could only fire wide of Grant’s near post.

An industrious performance from Maguire was almost rewarded with a goal five minutes from time.

The front man collected a pass from Bell and danced between three Colliers defenders but saw Grant fingertip his rising shot over point blank range.

As referee Paul Brown blew the whistle for full-time he brought down the curtain on a miserable night for the Colliers as they were outclassed by an impressive display by Spartans.

The professionalism and work rate shown by the men in green and white shone through and they fully deserved their win.

Blyth Spartans: Jeffries, Nicholson (Cummings 60), Watson, Hutchinson, Parker, Hooks, Bell, Dixon, Maguire, Mullen, Wearmouth. Subs not used: Dale, Turnbull, Rivers, Wade.

Ashington: Grant, McGlen, Oliver, Shaw, Flynn, Christensen, Airey (Middleton 82), Downey (Egan 70), Stephenson, Johnson, Davison (Ferrell 54). Subs not used: Barnard.

Attendance: 399.