ASHINGTON will face Whitley Bay in the final of this season’s Northumberland Senior Cup after resisting a stern challenge from North Shields on Tuesday night at the Daren Persson Stadium before winning their semi-final going 2-0.
Superbly executed goals either side of the interval from Glen Taylor and Andrew Johnson came at exactly the right time for a Colliers side who deservedly won the right to advance and set up a repeat of the final three years ago when Whitley Bay won 2-1 at St James’ Park.
The game was certainly far from a rip roaring encounter but was enjoyable for a crowd which swelled the 200 mark.
Chances were few and far between, but Ashington, kicking into the teeth of a strong wind, were denied first when Shields lynchpin James Harmison, playing against his former club, got in a magnificent block to thwart Marc Walton.
Minutes later, a 30-yard free kick by Ben Richardson drifted wide, then Harmison again got his body in the way to deny Johnson.
In the 20th minute, play switched and the Robins – who had been lively – went close to breaking the deadlock through Dean Holmes when his pile driver from the edge of the area smacked against the bar.
And Paul Watson was not far off target for the Shieldsmen before an effort from Walton was blocked – again by Harmison.
Seconds later, Robbie Nolan broke for the home side and when he pulled the ball back, Richardson’s drive from the edge of the area was parried by visiting keeper Karl Dryden.
However, in first half stoppage time the Colliers got a precious lead – courtesy of Glen Taylor.
Andrew Dobby forced a corner on the left and when Johnson swung the ball into the danger area, Taylor arriving at the near post planted a bullet like header into the roof of the net.
Ashington began the second half well and after Glen Taylor had lashed over, the striker unfortunately got in the way of an effort from Walton with the ball being cleared.
Holmes fired wide before the Colliers crucially doubled their advantage in the 52nd minute with a scorcher on a bitterly cold night from Andrew Johnson.
Glen Taylor and Walton were involved in the approach with the latter spraying the ball out wide to Johnson, who cut inside then curled a right footer from 18 yards past keeper Sean McCafferty and into the top corner.
Opportunities were scarce for the remainder of the tie with Johnson carving out the one highlight of the second period three minutes from time.
The forward got possession on the halfway line and skilfully went past four challenges before firing just wide of the far post
North Shields: McCafferty, Elliott, Patterson, Forster (Rowntree 81 mins), Harmison, Hughes, Wrightson (Douglas 60 mins), Watson, Nolan, Richardson, Holmes (Wright 67 mins). Subs not used: McCabe, Bowman.
Ashington: Dryden, Grieve, Dobby, Antony, Atkin, Scott, J Taylor, Dugdale, Walton (O’Dea 81 mins), G Taylor, Johnson (Heaman 89 mins). Subs not used: Slaughter, Moscrop.