Ashington leave it late to beat Ryhope in League Cup
Ashington advanced into the next round of the Brooks Mileson Memorial League Cup as a stoppage time goal beat Ryhope CW on Tuesday evening.
The tie was level at 1-1 in the second minute of added on time when substitute Paul Antony played the ball across for Ben Harmison inside the penalty area.
The striker cut inside a defender then fired a low left footed effort which beat keeper Jonathan Ball and a defender on the line.
Less than a minute later referee Graeme Hopper blew the final whistle which brought relief for the Woodhorn Lane side and despair for the visitors.
The Sunderland-based outfit, who hover just above the relegation zone in the Ebac Northern League first division, belied their lowly placing and were the better side in the first half.
In fact the opening 45 minutes the visitors were the more composed unit and played constructive football.
They created the first opening chance in the eighth minute when Matthew Weirs cleverly side-stepped a defender but dragged his shot wide of Conor Grant’s left hand post.
Then on the quarter hour, a 20-yard drive from skipper Simon Ord had ‘goal’ written all over it until Grant blocked in magnificent fashion.
It was 20 minutes before Steve Harmison’s side threatened with Luke Salmon blasting over, then the same player featured as Ashington took the lead five minutes before half-time.
He had a blockbuster effort turned for a corner by Ball and from the flag kick on the left, the ball ran out of the area to Shaun Henderson who hit a sumptuous right footer on the run from 25 yards which left the keeper helpless.
The goal scorer then delivered a cross from the right for Andrew Bulford but he miscued his header and the danger was cleared.
The visitors were left shaking their heads as they trooped off at the interval, but 12 minutes after the break they were level.
Kyle Davis had replaced Logan Powell and when a cross from the right fell to the substitute, he swept the ball wide of Grant and inside the post from 12 yards.
Within a minute, Weirs was not far away from giving his side the lead whilst Ashington, who again offered little in an overall poor display, had to wait until the 73rd minute to create a chance.
Wayne Buchanan’s neat back flick after a through ball from Harmison released Dan O’Reilly but he fired into the side-netting.
A shot from Shaun Bell went straight into Ball’s midriff and when substitute Reece Simpson was off target in the 90th minute, it looked as if the game was going to be decided by a penalty shoot-out.
That was until Harmison’s intervention won it for the home side.
On Saturday Ashington are away to Jarrow Roofing, kick-off 3pm).
Ashington: Grant, Henderson, Salmon, Downey (Antony 65), Christensen, Buchanan, Sampson, S Bell, Bulford (Dormand 74), B Harmison, O’Reilly (Simpson 89). Subs not used: J Harmison, Glasper.