Influential Johnson plays through pain barrier

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ASHINGTON CFC striker Andrew Johnson played an influential role on Saturday to help lead his side through to a 2-1 success over Sunderland RCA and into the third round proper of this season FA Carlsberg Vase.

Johnson – rated extremely doubtful during the week with an injury sustained seven days earlier against the Ryhope based outfit – had his ankle heavily strapped and played through the pain barrier to score the first goal and claim an assist for the second as the Colliers marched into the next round winning by the odd goal in three.

“In all honesty, I didn’t think I was going to play when I reported to the ground,” he said afterwards, “I couldn’t walk last Sunday or Monday and couldn’t train during the week and I’d been putting ice on the ankle and keeping it strapped. I received treatment from Leanne Symonds, our club physiotherapist during the week but it was all a question of whether time would run out.”

He continued: “It was my decision to play – I was 70 per cent fit but I felt I could do okay. I strapped the ankle up and didn’t have any movement in it but I scored and got an assist. I had another couple of chances after that but I couldn’t really strike the ball, I could only side foot it.”

He went on: “The injury needs to improve and get better – I can’t just keep on playing with it being sore; I need to let it heal. However, playing through the pain barrier was worthwhile because I was happy with my performance and delighted that we got through.”

Boss Gary Middleton was full of praise for Johnson: “Andrew was badly hurt the previous Saturday but rested all week and today had his ankle heavily strapped. He caused RCA all sorts of problems when he got on the ball and ran at defenders. He was determined to play and that is what the lad is about – I thought he was terrific.”

Meanwhile midfielder Chris Bell has joined Bishop Auckland.