North Shields boss - Ashington tie could have been easier

Ashington FC Captain Andrew Johnson in action. Picture by Ian Appleby -
Ashington FC Captain Andrew Johnson in action. Picture by Ian Appleby -

North Shields manager Graham Fenton believes the side who has the most quality and who are more clinical in front of goal will emerge as the victors when his outfit – holders of the FA Vase - clash against local rivals Ashington in the second round proper at the Daren Persson Stadium on Saturday week.

Six months ago Fenton’s men lifted the trophy after a dramatic 2-1 extra time victory in the showpiece final over Glossop North End.

And 41 year old Fenton – a football coach at Monkseaton High School who has been in charge of the Robins for three and a half years – believes their will be no pressure on the Shieldsmen when they play there first game in the competition since that unforgettable day at Wembley in May.

Fenton – who during his professional career with Aston Villa, played on the hallowed turf in a 3-1 win over Manchester United - said: “The draw could have been better for both clubs because it is not going to be an easy tie.

“But I’ve got to admit that I wasn’t surprised because the first six or seven games we played in the Vase last season were against Northern League opposition.

“We know a lot about Ashington and by the same token they know a lot about us.

“Hopefully it will played in front of a fabulous turn out because a lot of people get Vase fever and come out of the woodwork.”

He continued: “We excelled last year and were not expected to win the Vase outright and even though we are the holders, there will be no pressure on us.

“From our perspective, it will just be another game which we will be trying to win and the lads will be up for it.”

Fenton’s ultimate target is to return to Wembley: “Without doubt, I would like us to repeat what we achieved last season,” he said, “If you do not have the hunger to go and try to replicate what was a fantastic achievement then as a player you shouldn’t be putting a pair of boots on.

“The lads said it was the best weekend of their lives and to go to one of the best Stadiums in the world was just class.

“We will have a really good go against Ashington but I reckon the team with the most quality and who are clinical when it comes to taking chances will come out on top.”