Williamson’s late strike earns Ashington FA Cup replay

Ashington striker Dylan Williamson celebrates after his late equaliser earned Ashington an FA Cup replay against Albion Sports. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.co.uk
Ashington striker Dylan Williamson celebrates after his late equaliser earned Ashington an FA Cup replay against Albion Sports. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.co.uk

Dylan Williamson fired a dramatic last gasp equaliser in the fourth minute of stoppage time to give Ashington a second bite at the cherry in this season’s Emirates FA Cup.

The Colliers looked to be down and out in their extra preliminary round tie against Bradford-based Albion Sports, especially after keeper Jack Bentley had kept out a stinging low drive from James Harmison.

But from the ensuing corner on the left, swung over by Chris Moore, the ball broke to Williamson who spun and lashed a right footer into the roof of the net.

Barely 45 seconds later, referee David Watson blew for full-time.

Following all the hype in the build-up including the cup being on show at Woodhorn Lane 48 hours before the contest, it was a fairly ordinary tie which never reached any great heights.

The visitors started the livelier and after skipper James Firth had headed wide, Alex Cusack made a dart into the box until he was thwarted by a trademark block tackle from James Harmison.

It was the quarter hour mark when Ashington carved out their first opening with Williamson picking up a throw-in from Kyle Oliver before shooting over from distance.

And it was Williamson who set up a glorious opportunity which skipper Andrew Johnson failed to convert in the 27th minute.

The winger sped down the right flank and laid the ball on a plate for Johnson but he skied over.

Brice Tiani and Oliver were narrowly off target for their respective sides before Harmison was wide of the mark at the near post from an Oliver corner.

Another great chance fell Williamson’s way five minutes from the break but his pile driver was kept out by the feet of Bentley, and Johnson headed over the resultant corner on the right from Kyle Downey.

Although Scott Blandford got in a vital block to charge down a shot from Lewis Morgan, the Colliers were on top and clearly did not want the first half to end.

And in the first minute of time added on they went in front through Harmison.

Jonathyn Quinn crossed from the left for Harmison to drive goalwards, and although Bentley tried to scoop the ball out, the referee’s assistant flagged to indicate it had crossed the line.

Early in the second half the visitors had a goal chalked off for an infringement, then after Cusack had gone close, Cunningham was stopped in his tracks by a tackle inside the area by Harmison.

However, the visitors drew level on the hour.

The home side failed to clear a free kick and when the ball fell in the path of Danny Cunningham, he stabbed home.

Ashington’s response was instant with Downey supplying a cross from the left which saw Johnson’s header loop over the bar.

A timely tackle by Morgan denied Johnson and Williamson rippled the side-netting before the visitors went 2-1 ahead in the 80th minute.

The goal stemmed from a throw-in on the right and when Cusack got possession, he hooked the ball over Conor Grant and inside the far post.

Two minutes later, substitute Paul Dunn found Williamson on the touchline and when he crossed, Johnson, ghosting in at the far post, squandered a marvellous chance by directing a header from six yards over the top.

Then came the late drama with Williamson’s goal, which took the game to a replay in Leeds on Wednesday night (8pm kick-off).

Ashington: Grant, Christensen, Oliver (Atkin 46), Downey (Dunn 67), Harmison, Grieve, Moore, Blandford, Williamson, Quinn (Bell 77), Johnson. Subs not used: Smith, Stephenson, Race, Thompson.

Attendance: 310.

In midweek, Ashington went down to a second successive league defeat with a 3-1 reverse against Penrith.

James Harmison opened for the home side midway through the first half but the Cumbrians sealed victory with goals after the break from Martyn Coleman, substitute Nathan Waterson and Jamie Hope.

The Colliers were reduced to ten men in the closing stages when Dylan Williamson was sent off for a second yellow card offence.

On Saturday Ashington are at home to Durham City (3pm) then the Colliers host Norton & Stockton Ancients on Tuesday, August 25.