ANOTHER CRACKER – PURE AND SIMPLE

It’s difficult to resist resorting to clichés after the kind of cup-tie that the Towns of Guisborough and Runcorn produced last night.  It might be best just to let the action do the talking.  Sitting comfortably?  This could take some time:

The opening seconds and Guisborough keeper Jordan Nixon just beats Harry Brazel to a ball popped into the six yard box.

7” – a well-judged flick header by Guisborough No. 9 Anthony Hume allows Mason McNeill to run into the box and his pull back is just a couple of feet from two of his team mates trying to connect with his pass.  The “zip” of a cup tie was on show from the off, with both teams playing a pacey passing game.

And then in the 21st minute Runcorn take the lead with a lightning quick break down the right by their No. 9 Shaun Weaver.  Left winger Stuart McDonald pulled Guisborough defenders away with a run at the far post, leaving a gap for Brazel to run into.  He connects with Weaver’s pass and powers it past Nixon.  Three minutes later Weaver almost got on the score sheet with an excellent, crisp strike that hits the bar, with Nixon rooted to the spot.

At the other end, McNeill forces Runcorn keeper Adam Reid to spread himself to pull off the best save of the half, with two follow-up strikes blocked by defenders.  Guisborough manage to level the game when a cross by Bradley Mills is left by McNeill, allowing Hume to hit it first time and find the inside of the net, just inside the post.

And then with a minute to go before the end of the half, Weaver was allowed to run right across the Guisborough box without a home defender tackling him, giving him the time and space to curl it past Nixon and in, just inside the left post.  Another quality strike makes it 1-2.

In a game being played at full throttle, both No. 9s were leading by example.

The visitors started the second half looking stronger and quicker than Guisborough.  In the 50th minute Weaver surprisingly missed the target with a turn and shot.  The visitors were playing a high, pressing game, putting the Guisborough back four under immediate pressure.  The hosts were being forced to play at Runcorn’s tempo and pace, but they forced their way back into the game in the 61st minute when a cross by Carl Lawson seemed to get a deflection, giving Mark Robinson the opportunity to despatch it into the net.

The two sides then started trading attacks, with end-to-end football.  Hume scuffed a half chance and then Guisborough left back Joe Ferguson cleared a Leon Wright cross off his line.  It developed into a more even match, with the second Guisborough strike taking some of the steam out of Runcorn’s play.

In the 75th minute it was the turn of a Runcorn defender to clear the ball away from his own line – Marcus James managing to get to a Hume header before it could cross the line.  With only a couple of minutes of normal time to go, three Guisborough players tried unsuccessfully to find a way past a packed Runcorn defence,  Both Hume and Weaver had one more chance each before the game was sent into extra time.

And there was no let up in the number of chances in the extra time, including Guisborough substitute Brandon Holdsworth having a chance headed clear by James a yard from the line.

The game started to turn decisively Runcorn’s way in the 5th minute of extra time when a Weaver header curled in past Nixon.

Guisborough then created a whole series of chances:  a Steven Roberts cross just evading Holdsworth; a thundering shot by Jay Wilson which Reid did well to push away, diving down to his right.  That was quickly followed by another good save following a snap shot by Guisborough No. 8 Mark Robinson.

Desperate times called for desperate measures and Nixon again went forward at set pieces with only minutes of the match to go – trying to repeat scoring exploits from earlier in the season.  As Guisborough piled forward, Runcorn tried to hit them on the quick break counter-attack.

The nail was hammered into Guisborough’s coffin in the final seconds of the game.  Runcorn were given a free kick close to the edge of the pitch and several of their players ran towards the ball.  The Guisborough players all followed them, leaving Stuart McDonald all alone in front of goal to receive the free kick.  He produced a great volley to end Guisborough’s Vase campaign.

As I said, another cracker; pure and simple.

PS – a couple of notes about two of the Runcorn players:  ground hopper Stan Williamson said Weaver reminded him both in appearance and style of legendary non-league goal scorer Paul Chow.  Two other people described his play as “quick and slick”.  Surprisingly, because of the unavailability of other players, he was drafted in as a stand-in centre forward on the night.  Members of the Runcorn contingent said he normally plays in centre midfield.  He might have just found a new niche in the team.

And secondly, a mention for Leon Wright – a 16 year-old making his debut in the starting 11 for Runcorn.  In a rough and tumble cup tie, he more than held his own and wasn’t daunted by the occasion, lasting well into extra time before being substituted.  He’s not the tallest of players, but he didn’t back down when squaring up to Guisborough centre back Matthew Lovatt, before being unceremoniously spun to the ground by Ferguson (who was lucky not to get booked for the intervention).

Guisborough Town 2 Runcorn Town 4 (aet) Buildbase FA Vase First Round replay.

Mike Snowdon

Sometimes a team can be well ahead in a game in every department apart from the scoreline.  And sometimes it takes a second goal before the team can dispel the worries about failing to turn their superior play into goals.

Last night Ashington scored two minutes into the second half.  It wasn’t quite a watershed moment in their FA Vase match against Nelson, but it certainly helped to ease any worries about the North West Counties League side pegging them back, despite the Lancashire team being second best.

The Colliers should probably have been more than one-nil up at half-time, with Jay Hornsby coming closest with a shot deflected off the post in the 26th minute.  Nelson had started with plenty of energy and attacking intent, but once that had fizzled out Ashington started to put their stamp on the game.

The only surprise was that it took until the 31st minute before they got their noses in front.  Lee McAndrew sent over a cross from the right wing, Gerard Richardson met it with a header, the Nelson keeper got a touch on the ball but couldn’t deflect it away from the goal.  Seconds earlier McAndrew and Richardson had linked up in similar fashion only for the Nelson keeper to paw that header wide of goal.

The “nerve settler” was provided by Jack Butler in the 47th minute after the Colliers No. 11 controlled the ball and shrugged off a challenge before hitting it past Marcel Wsiewicz in the Nelson goal.  Finally, the scoreline reflected the control that Ashington had exerted over the team from the second tier of the North West Counties League.

After that, there was only going to be one winner of the cup tie.

In the 52nd minute the Nelson defence only half cleared a Chris Youldon shot.  Jack Butler picked up the loose ball and hit it back across the keeper to make it 3-0.

In the 60th minute Richardson rose above the Nelson defence unchallenged to get on the end of a corner to add a fourth goal and Zak Atkinson completed with scoring in the 80th minute with a penalty after Youldon was brought down in the Nelson box.

Mission accomplished with something to spare for the Colliers.

Next up in the Vase for the Colliers is a trip to last year’s finalists Stockton Town.

  • It was also a winning start for Ashington’s new chairman Brian Shotton who travelled with the team and supporters to Lancashire just a couple of days after taking over the hot seat. Not a bad start.

Nelson FC 0 Ashington 5 – Buildbase FA Vase First Round

Mike Snowdon

A group of Ashington fans are ready to go more than the extra mile next week in a bid to raise funds for a well-known charity.

Last year seven fans from Ashington FC conducted a sponsored walk covering a distance of 14 miles from Morpeth Town’s Craik Park via Bedlington to Woodhorn Lane – home of Ashington FC.  This time five of the seven plus three newcomers will put their walking boots on as they add an additional chapter to their mission entitled ‘Colliers kicking Cancer’ – with all proceeds being donated to Prostate Cancer UK.

This year’s walk will see the mileage increase to 16 miles as they head from Woodhorn Lane down the coast to Whitley Bay, hoping to arrive ahead of the Colliers Ebac Northern League clash against the Seahorses at Hillheads on Saturday October 27.

Neil Dickinson, whose grandfather Andrew Stuart Hall was hit by prostate cancer said: “We plan to set off between 7.30-8am and other people might want to join us. There is good craic between the lads en route – and we are all looking forward to it.

“Last year we didn’t set ourselves a target and our attitude was that whatever we got was a bonus. We raised in the region of £5,000 which was a tremendous effort. We have set up a JustGiving page and will also be carrying buckets with us on our journey if people want to donate. The walk is open to anyone and we are hoping someone from Whitley Bay might get in touch to come along with us.”

The idea behind the walk was originally initiated by Stevie Baptist. After having five years of treatment, Stevie’s father Ken received the all-clear whilst his father-in-law has also been affected by prostate cancer. Stevie said: “The walk is something which I wanted to do again. I asked the other lads about it and they agreed – and it may turn into an annual event. We had planned to walk ahead of our scheduled match at Dunston on October 13 – which also coincided with non league day – but we were drawn away to Nelson in the first round of the Buildbase FA Vase so we switched to October 27 which was the next available date.” The eight walkers are: Neil Dickinson; Thomas Dickinson; Mark Dickinson; Craig Dickinson; Stevie Baptist; Michael Slee, John Saunders and Gav Perry.

Pictured are the party of weary legged walkers arriving at Woodhorn Lane after completing the event last year.

Donations can be made at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/stephen-baptist2

The draw for the Second Round of the Buildbase FA Vase has been made at Wembley Stadium today.

Ties involving our clubs are as follows:

Hallum v Hebburn Town
Vauxhall Motors v Guisborough Town or Runcorn Town
Staveley MW or Silsdenv Bedlington Terriers
Newcastle Benfield v 1874 Northwich
Winterton Rangers v Dunston UTS
Barton Town v Shildon AFC
Garstang v Sunderland RCA
Thackley v West Auckland Town
Stockton Town v Nelson or Ashington

Ties to be played on Saturday 3rd November 2018.

The winners receive £900 in prize money whilst clubs losing in the round will receive £300.

There is not quite an emergency at Dean Street, but there have been clear the air talks between board, management and players in the last few days.  New signings have arrived while others have moved on.  As Consett look good bets for the title, ambitious Hebburn track them and cup heroes Dunston lurk in the background, it was imperative that the Railwaymen got off to a good start in the FA Vase.

The draw was kind to them in that visitors Glasshoughton Welfare are a Step 6 club and one of seemingly moderate ability.  Situated in the rugby league stronghold of Castleford, they probably travelled more in hope than expectation, while the Shildon people expected to go through.

That they did was due to manager, leading goal scorer and chief cook and bottle washer Daniel Moore, who rounded off an intense opening 20 minutes of Shildon pressure when he turned in an excellent low cross from Matty Robson into the visitors’ net.

The crowd sat back and awaited, if not a deluge of Friday night proportions, at least a steady stream of goals and a comfortable progression to Round 2.

That it did not happen that way was due to the profligacy of the Shildon attack, where Jack Blackford was particularly prone to fire over and/or wide, and the obduracy of a limited but extremely hard-working Glasshoughton team, who were always in with a chance.

They fielded three players of Polish origin in their 16-man squad.  By far the most impressive of the three was goalkeeper Matius Zaniewski, a giant of a man who reminded this scribe and some of the older inhabitants of the Brown Street Terrace of a certain Jan Tomaszewski from 1973,

Zaniewski proved to be unbeatable in the air and he dealt easily with a succession of high balls lobbed into the box.  His distribution from hand was excellent and it prompted one between jobs manager to wonder what on earth he was doing playing at this level.

The game should have been wrapped up in the 60th minute when Zaniewski came dashing off his line and, aided and abetted by Reece Horne, wiped out Danny Earl.  Matty Robson stepped up to take the kick and sent Zaniewski the wrong way.  Unfortunately for the former Hartlepool and Carlisle man hit the ball against the post and it bounced far enough out to be hoofed downfield by the visitors.

The majority of the crowd of 181 were slightly edgy as the game meandered to an end.  One error could lead to extra time and the possibility of a trip down the A1 and M62 on Tuesday night, but the Shildon back four, marshalled buy the voluble Darryl Hall, held firm and keeper Shaun Newbrook was hardly bothered.

It wasn’t the best game at dear old Dean Street this season, but it produced an important win which may settle nerves as the season hits its most important period.  Consett are out of the Vase and can concentrate on the league while Hebburn are still in it and may find a day at Wembley more alluring than a midweek trip to Brighouse next season.

The Railwaymen have not quite stoked the fire up as much as they would have wanted, but unlike their near neighbours at Heritage Park, they are in the Wembley hat on Monday.  They would not be desperately keen to play a fellow NL club so let’s hope that the gods smile kindly on them.

Shildon 1 Glasshoughton Welfare 0 – Buildbase FA Vase First Round

Pete Sixsmith

Following a meeting of the executive board Ashington football Club can announce with immediate effect that Brian Shotton has been appointed as the new chairman.

Ian Lavery said:
“After more than ten years as chairman I am sad to announce that I am standing down from Ashington Community Football Club with immediate effect. This is not a decision that has been taken lightly and unfortunately the time pressures associated with my day job mean maintaining a hands on approach with the club has become impossible.

Incoming chairman Brian Shotton said:
“I want to pay tribute to Ian Lavery who has served as chairman of the club for more than a decade having overseen the move from Portland Park and the transition to Woodhorn Lane. Ian leaves behind a dedicated team of volunteers and facilities that are a world away from those first provided when the club was moved out of the town centre to make way for its redevelopment.

“I have a long affiliation with the football club going back to the early 90s and I have seen how it has changed over that period. As a local businessman I am under no illusions about the challenges that running a football club at this level can bring but I am excited at the prospect of continuing to build the club and to ensure that it remains a focal point of Ashington’s community for many years to come.

“We have a great opportunity to ‘press reset’ at this football club to begin a new era and with the support and dedication of the board, management and playing staff, the excellent supporters, the fantastic junior section and wider community I can only envisage future successes.

“We would welcome dialogue with any persons that may be interested in becoming involved with the club as well as the businesses and community organisations”

Supporters club chair Ian Reid said;

“I am delighted on behalf of the supporters club to welcome Brian back to the club and to wish him every success in this new role. The supporters will be looking forward to working alongside Brian to make sure the club has a long and prosperous future and remains at the heart of Ashington’s community.”