ASHINGTON’S dream of playing at Wembley came to a disappointing end for another season on Saturday.
The Colliers licked their wounds on a ten-hour return coach journey from Cornwall after turning in a disappointing performance against Bodmin Town on a heavy Priory Park pitch in the fourth round of the FA Carlsberg Vase.
The Black & Ambers followed a recipe for the most famous eating nourishment in the south west – the Cornish pasty – a delicacy which is traditionally packed to the gunnels with meat and vegetables.
And packed too was Bodmin’s charge which ultimately provided a knock out punch to the side from Wansbeck.
The home side never relented one inch in their endeavours, working tirelessly throughout, defending magnificently and fully deserving to progress.
Ashington defender Matty Grieve had forewarned his team-mates that they needed to be at their best against a three-pronged home strike force of Glyn Hobbs, Chris Luxton and Adam Carter, who had bagged 60 goals between them already this season.
And although the trio were not on the park as a unit, Hobbs and Carter both got onto the score sheet with the other goal coming from Steve Colwell.
Ashington’s leading scorer Marc Walton came through a morning fitness test but was named on the bench, and there was a late change with Jonny Godsmark amongst the substitutes after Josh Gray pulled out in the pre-match warm-up.
Ashington were on the back foot from the start with visitors keeper Karl Dryden forced to tip over an ambitious 30 yarder from Hobbs in the fourth minute.
With the visitors struggling to get out of their own half, it came as no surprise when the hosts took the lead in the tenth minute.
Yet only a minute earlier in a rare raid, a cross from Darren Lough was glanced on by Craig Scott for Andrew Johnson whose shot was headed off the line by Ollie Brokenshire.
Bodmin broke from the resultant corner with Neil Slateford slotting the ball through for the lively Hobbs, who beat the offside trap, rounded the advancing Dryden and coolly swept the ball home with his right foot.
Eight minutes later, Colliers skipper Liam Atkin made a vital clearance after Hobbs had spotted a run by Slateford down the right and tried to find the midfielder with a long diagonal pass.
After being pinned back, the Woodhorn Lane outfit eventually got a foothold in the match sparked off by ball played in by James Taylor – who shrugged off a sickness bug to play – which was headed over by Johnson.
Although they created little in the way of clear cut opportunities, Gary Middleton’s side did finish the half strongly with a cross by Glen Taylor being cut out at the near post by Tom Chambers and a shot by Taylor being blocked.
The half-time whistle may have come at a bad time for Ashington – yet after the adjournment, the visitors looked strong with Scott heading over, before a shot by Paul Antony was taken by keeper Kevin Miller, then the stopper blocked a pile driver from Glen Taylor which was goal bound following a move involving Johnson and Lough.
On the hour, the Colliers did indeed get on terms – via the penalty spot.
Brokenshire’s high lunge on Johnson saw referee, north Devon-based Andrew Bennett, point to the spot and Glen Taylor rifled home.
However, Ashington were only level for a mere five minutes before Bodmin regained the lead following an error by Dryden.
A harmless looking through pass saw James Taylor leave the ball for Dryden but after the keeper had grasped it, he then spilled it which gave Hobbs possession. The striker crossed low into the danger zone and although Colwell’s initial drive was kept out by the retrieving Dryden, Colwell following up hammered the rebound into the roof of the net.
Lough had an effort blocked at the near post and Antony hit the side netting before Hobbs was just off target with a low shot.
Then Carter came even closer a couple of minutes later with a volley which hit the bar.
Ashington countered with Antony finding Glen Taylor down the right and his driven cross was only just missed by incoming substitute Phill Bell.
Just as much as Dryden’s mistake had proved costly earlier, his brilliance on 80 minutes kept the Colliers in the tie.
Carter met a cross from the left to steer a goalbound header which had goal written all over it until the stopper dived full length to his right to palm the ball away in sensational style.
James Taylor went close with a half volley which went narrowly over the bar but 60 seconds later, as Ashington looked for an offside which never came, Carter latched onto a through ball down the right, advanced then fired across Dryden and into the far corner for Bodmin’s third.
However, in the second minute of time added on, a free kick by Antony was glanced on by Scott for Matty Grieve who side footed home – but the score came too late and the Colliers bowed out of the competition.
Bodmin secretary Nick Giles later handed over a box of Cornish pasties for Ashington’s homeward journey – how Gary Middleton’s men could have done with adopting the same recipe as their Priory Park counterparts.
Ashington: Dryden, J Taylor, Scott, Antony, Atkin, Grieve, Johnson, Hodgson (Bell 58 mins), O’Dea, G Taylor, Lough. Subs not used: Bainbridge, Mellish, Walton, Godsmark.
On Saturday Ashington are at home to neighbours Whitley Bay (3pm).