Ex-Ashington striker dumps his former team out of Senior Cup
North Shields' former Ashington striker Gareth Bainbridge struck a late extra time winner on Wednesday night to take his side through to the semi-finals of the Techflow Group Northumberland Senior Cup.
The Robins strode to victory over the Colliers when the sides met in the FA Vase earlier in the season, and they appeared to be on course to complete a comprehensive double at the Daren Persson Stadium courtesy of Dean Holmes’ first half opener.
But Steve Harmison’s men adopted a never-say-die attitude after the break, and in stoppage time they got back on terms through Lee Scott to send the tie into extra time.
The first period was totally dominated by the Shieldsmen, who passed Ashington off the park with home stopper Chris Bannon not having a shot to field as the visitors were lucky if they ventured three times inside their opponents’ half.
For Shields, Ben Richardson, James Luccock, Holmes and Michael McKeown had chances inside the opening quarter hour, then Luccock was well placed but struck his effort over on the half volley.
Bainbridge, Luccock and Ryan McGorrigan linked well before the latter curled over from the edge of the area.
But in the 35th minute, Holmes deservedly broke the deadlock.
Ashington were outdone by the slickness and incisiveness of a move down the right involving Holmes and McGorrigan, and when the former was through, he lifted his shot over keeper Conor Grant and inside the post.
After the break, Ashington’s fight back began with ten minutes played when a neat move involving Michael Dixon and Ben Harmison saw the former’s cross pick out skipper Ben Christensen whose effort went narrowly over.
Shields threatened on the counter with Luccock blocked out, then 15 minutes form time, Lee Scott tried to find substitute Adam Bains with a cross from the right but substitute Gary Ormston made a vital interception to clear for a corner.
When Ben Harmison directed a header well wide from a Paul Dunn cross, the tie appeared to be slipping away from the Colliers.
But in the third minute of time added on, Scott fired in an equaliser.
Matty Grieve’s searching pass from the back picked out Bains inside the area and the substitute did exceptionally well to cross to Scott who rifled a right footer from eight yards in off the bar.
Straight from the kick-off at the start of the extra 30 minutes, Christensen headed away from a McGorrigan cross, but chances were at a premium.
And four minutes from the end, when McKeown curled the ball wide with a glorious opportunity, the game seemed destined to go to a penalty shoot-out.
But Holmes produced another pacy run down the left which took him into the box and when he passed across goal and Bainbridge did the rest, steering a low right footer inside the post.
North Shields: Bannon, Donnison, Lancaster, McKeown, Coppen, Hughes (Parker 46, Ormston 67), Luccock, Richardson, Bainbridge, McGorrigan (Glen-Ravenhill 77), Holmes. Subs not used: Summerly, Wilson.
Ashington: Grant, Christensen, Weldon, Dunn, J Harmison (Williams 42), Grieve, Taylor (Bains 57), Dixon, Scott (Angus 108), B Harmison, Downey. Sub not used: Hall.