Bainbridge the man for the big occasion

Ashington CFC's Gareth Bainbridge.
Ashington CFC's Gareth Bainbridge.

ASHINGTON striker Gareth Bainbridge once again proved to be the man for the big occasion on Saturday.

A sprinkling of historic moments have gone hand in hand for the 26-year-old who joined the club four years ago.

On Saturday Bainbridge, pictured, came on as a first half substitute and scored the winner in a thrilling 3-2 victory over Newport Pagnell in the FA Carlsberg Vase fourth round.

The goal took Ashington to new heights as they reached the last 16 of the competition for the first time.

And it added to two other historic moments he has been involved in with the Northern League side.

“I scored the very last goal at the old Portland Park ground, the first goal at the new Woodhorn Lane headquarters and now this on Saturday – it’s brilliant.

“Before the start, the manager told me I was going to play a big part in the game, and in our last match I came on as a sub against Tow Law early on.

“On Saturday it was a case of staying mentally and physically prepared and when Jonny (Godsmark) unfortunately had to come off through injury, I was introduced.”

Within ten minutes amidst a period of non stop action, Bainbridge struck what proved to be the winner.

“My first thought when the ball came back from the crossbar was that I wanted to keep the ball alive and then when I had a touch, I had a little look up and thought about putting it into the box but I saw a gap between defender and the post and slid it in,” he said.

“Obviously with my goal coming in the first half, I didn’t know it was going to be the decider – it was really just a case of seeing the game out.

“I didn’t want to get forward too much in the second half. I just wanted to work hard in a massive team effort and win the game that was all.”

He added: “I’ve been at Ashington since 2008 and on a personal level, to see so many people happy after the game – the fans, players and the management is just tremendous.

“To be part of it is something else and I love the club more than ever.”