Johnson wants the ‘real Ashington’ to turn up for Vase tie

Ashington FC captain Andrew Johnson in action. Picture by Ian Appleby
Ashington FC captain Andrew Johnson in action. Picture by Ian Appleby

Andrew Johnson says it is vital that the real Ashington turn up against Newcastle Benfield at Sam Smith’s Park on Saturday if they are to harbour any hopes of making progress in this season’s FA Carlsberg Vase.

The 27-year-old skipper said: “Without doubt we want to have another good run in the competition and to go further than last term.

“We let ourselves down on the day last year after getting a home draw in the fourth round against Wisbech, and as we haven’t much to play for in the league this campaign, the cup competitions has got to be our focus.”

However, Johnson added with caution: “If we play at the top of our game we can beat anyone, but if we put in a performance like some others we have done so far this season then we will be going out.

“It all depends on which Ashington side turns up on Saturday, and I’ll be doing my utmost to make sure it’s the better one.”

Johnson is aware that his defenders will have to be on their guard to keep joint strikers Paul Brayson and Dan Taylor at bay, and Ashington’s recent 3-1 victory is insignificant.

“I’m happy with draw although I would rather it had been at home,” he said.

“But I’m not reading too much into our win at Benfield the other week because they had a man sent off.

“They have got two good strikers in Brayson and Taylor but we are good going forward ourselves so I reckon there will be plenty of goals.

“It’ll be a tough game but I’m confident that we can do the business.”

Johnson, who will catch up with three mates at Benfield – Richie Slaughter, Steven Baptist and Dan Taylor – added: “Our attitude has got to be right and we can’t take anything for granted because other than the past month, performances by us have been poor in general.”

Johnson, a project officer for the Newcastle United Foundation, was one of three players – Tony Stephenson and Kyle Oliver being the others – who scored twice in Tuesday’s 7-0 win over Ebac Northern League second division side Thornaby in the Brooks Mileson Memorial League Cup with Glen Taylor also on target.

Meanwhile Ashington’s scheduled away clash against Newton Aycliffe last Saturday was postponed after heavy rain had left the surface waterlogged.