ASHINGTON CFC striker Stephen Young just loves the FA Cup.
Last season he helped himself to seven goals in five matches including a hat-trick at Wakefield as the Colliers enjoyed one of their most successful runs for many a season before bowing out against Droylsden.
On Saturday, Young was again on the mark as his solitary strike on the stroke of half-time proved to be the all important goal which took Ashington into the preliminary round on Saturday, September 3, where they will play the winners of this week’s Northallerton v West Allotment Celtic replay.
But in truth, Young’s customary goal, which was simplicity itself, was the one distinct highlight in an otherwise mundane match which never reached any height.
Indeed it took ten minutes for the first opening when Craig Scott headed wide a corner from Chris Scott.
Minutes later a Ryton free kick was headed on with keeper Karl Dryden just reaching the ball to deny Christopher McCabe.
Young blasted over after approach work by Jonny Godsmark, then a through ball by Andy Dugdale found Darren Lough down the left but his cross was smothered by keeper Alexander Curran.
The best move of the half came in the 27th minute and involved six Ashington players before the ball fell to Dugdale whose 20-yard effort was held by Curran.
Then in the 44th minute Ashington got their noses in front.
The ball reached Andrew Johnson on the right and when he crossed to the far post Young was on hand to clip home on the half volley into the back of the net.
Chances were also scarce in the second period with substitute James Taylor lifting the ball over from 15 yards after a Chris Scott corner had been laid back to him by Young.
Two minutes from time Dryden held on to an effort from substitute Daniel Wilson at the second attempt.
Chris Fawcett came on early in the second half for the injured James Harmison and looked a threat down the flank with his pace and skill.
But this will be a match which supporters will want to erase from their minds as quickly as possible.
Ashington: Dryden, Buzzeo, Lough, Harmison (Fawcett 53 minutes), Grieve (Taylor 36 minutes), Craig Scott, Chris Scott, Dugdale, Young, Johnson (Deagle 70 minutes), Godsmark. Sub not used: Graham.
In midweek Ashington were caught out in more ways than one at Woodhorn Lane.
With former Ashes heroes Stephen Harmison and Andrew Flintoff watching from the stands, the Colliers also looked on as first division newcomers Newton Aycliffe deservedly shared the spoils in a 2-2 draw despite playing the entire second half with only ten men.
In a frenetic end to the first half, Stephen Young fired the hosts in front before Aycliffe had Sean Tarling sent off for a second yellow card.
When Darren Lough latched onto a cross from substitute Paul Buzzeo to send a left foot volley into the far corner for Ashington’s second with ten minutes remaining, it appeared the points were in the bag.
But in the 88th minute, substitute Glen Robson handed Aycliffe a lifeline, lobbing home from 22 yards, then Darren Craddock headed a dramatic leveller two minutes later.
On Saturday Ashington are away to Sunderland RCA, then on Bank Holiday Monday, the Colliers host Bedlington Terriers at Woodhorn Lane, with a noon kick-off.