Thrackley 2-3 Ashington
Supersubs Dale Pearson and Callum Johnston conjured up the winning formula as Ashington finally triumphed in this Buildbase FA Vase clash after extra-time against Thackley in Bradford on Saturday, writes Brian Bennett.
Pearson netted a brace – including the winner – while Johnston scored one and claimed an assist in a game which was far from a thriller, despite the scoreline.
The Wansbeck side – spurred on by a magnificent army of travelling fans – were unlucky when Stephenson’s glancing header smacked against the bar.
An uneventful and flat first period, suddenly came to life when Jay Hornsby had an effort taken under the bar by home stopper Luke Wilson before Ben Christensen took a pass from Hornsby and was sent tumbling in the area. Referee Neil Howlett pointed to the spot but Downey’s penalty was too close to Wilson who parried – then saved the follow-up by the taker.
In the last minute of the 45, Thackley took the lead. A cross from the left was headed by Hughes past Grant and into the roof of the net.
Colliers eventually got back on level terms in sensational style in the 65th minute.
Substitute Pearson had only been on the field for 35 seconds when he latched onto a precision through-pass from Scott to advance then place a left-footer wide of Wilson and inside the post.
The home side were reduced to 10 men when skipper Pat McGuire, who had already been cautioned, blocked Ashington’s attempts to take a quick free-kick and promptly received his marching orders.
Wayne Buchanan headed in but the effort was ruled out for a foul.
The game went into extra-time and Johnston – who had replaced Hornsby – gave Ashington a dream start with a goal after two minutes. However, the ten men of Thackley refused to lie down and Jerome White equalised with an effort from 16 yards following a corner just prior to the end of the first additional half.
However, 30 seconds into the second period, Christensen played a pass down the line for Johnston who spun and crossed a terrific ball to the far post where Pearson netted what proved to be the winner, guiding his effort between Wilson and the post.
*Ashington face Whitley Bay (away) on Saturday (3pm).
Ashington: Grant, Christensen, Salmon, Downey, Scott, Buchanan, Sampson (Antony 13), McAndrew, Stephenson (Pearson 64), B Harmison, Hornsby (Johnston 54).