MIDFIELDER Andrew Johnson scored a late winner as Ashington CFC advanced into the next round of this season’s FA Cup.
With an uninspiring contest heading towards a replay, Johnson headed home from close range after Gareth Rees had nodded a corner from Chris Fawcett back into the danger zone.
The goal not only saved a midweek trip to North Yorkshire but also pocketed the club a £1,500 match winning reward and an away clash against Shildon on Saturday, September 17, in the first qualifying round.
The noteable distinctions could be counted on one hand, the first coming on 25 minutes when Jamie Clarke marked his debut with a stunning goal.
Johnson and Mark O’Dea were involved in the build up before Clarke got possession, neatly cut inside a defender then lashed a drive from fully 16 yards into the bottom of the net wide of Northallerton keeper Alexander Kell.
It took 33 minutes for the visitors to muster their first opportunity when Peter Bulmer jinked inside and saw his right footer held by Karl Dryden, then Stuart Hardy stroked wide of the keeper’s left hand post.
Northallerton grew in confidence and equalised in the first minute of time added on at the end of the first half.
Bulmer found Martin Butterworth just inside the left touchline and the midfielder promptly curled a superb effort from 18 yards around the despairing hands of Dryden and just inside the far post.
Supporters were hopeful the quality would improve after the break – sadly it again failed to materialise.
On the hour, Clarke found Johnson down the right who crossed into the area with the in-rushing Clarke missing his connection by inches.
Damen Mullen came on for O’Dea and immediately schemed a move which saw Clarke’s touch let him down with Kell blocking.
Mullen somehow missed out from a Johnson cross before the drama unfolded in the 89th minute with Johnson netting what proved to be the winner.
Following an injury sustained to Northallerton’s Daniel Shoulder, supporters had to endure an extra five minutes of time added on before Ashington’s progress was rubber stamped.
Ashington: Dryden, Taylor, Deagle, O’Dea (Mullen 77 minutes), Atkin, Rees, Chris Scott, Johnson, Clarke, Bainbridge (Race 46 minutes), Fawcett. Subs not used: Buzzeo, Graham, Harmison, Grieve.
On Saturday the Colliers are away to Billingham Town before travelling to face Tow Law on Tuesday, September 13.