A game of two halves as Ashington teach Newcastle University students a lesson in second half

The scoreline suggests a 5-1 romp and easy win for Ashington over Newcastle University in their Newcastle Flooring Senior Cup first round clash on Tuesday night – only it doesn’t paint a true picture.
Scott Heslop is congratulated after scoring the first of his two goals on Tuesday. Picture: Ian BrodieScott Heslop is congratulated after scoring the first of his two goals on Tuesday. Picture: Ian Brodie
Scott Heslop is congratulated after scoring the first of his two goals on Tuesday. Picture: Ian Brodie

Indeed, it was only after a late show with three goals inside the final quarter hour – two from substitute Scott Heslop and one from Wilson Kneeshaw – that the Colliers booked their place in the quarter-finals.

The students arrived at Woodhorn Lane after an eye catching 6-4 victory over Kendal Town in the Isuzu FA Vase on Saturday, but they were rocked back on their heels as the Wansbeck side took the lead only 70 seconds in.

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Following work on the right, Kneeshaw crossed the ball into the centre where Declan Bisset had the easy task of side-footing home.

Five minutes later, Ashington pieced together a great move which ended with Mason Hardy’s shot taking a deflection and going behind for a corner.

Just past the quarter hour mark, the University had a golden chance to restore parity from the penalty spot after Tolu Osiyemi was upended.

Ben Miller struck a powerful kick which saw home keeper Ross Coombe dive low to his right and get a fingertip onto the ball.

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Minutes before the break, Ashington had a great opportunity to double their lead. Kneeshaw stepped over Charlie Exley’s low cross from the left but Hardy fired over.

As the half entered the first few seconds of time added on, Coombe preserved Ashington’s lead.

The students went direct and from keeper Max Richardson’s clearance, Miller’s pass released ex-Collier Jack Butler, who saw his effort superbly blocked by the stopper.

Ashington added a second 10 minutes after the interval when a thunderbolt from Bisset took a deflection and crashed inside the top corner.

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Hardy had a header cleared off the line following good work down the left flank between Exley and Kneeshaw then at the other end, a shot from James Matthews whistled just wide.

Midway through the half, the University halved the deficit with a terrific strike. Joel Burgess played an incisive ball which cut through the home defence and Christopher Pearson made no mistake with a whipped cross-shot.

Ashington then introduced Heslop and his quickfire double put the tie beyond the students.

In the 73rd minute, Damen Mullen swung over a corner from the right to the far post where Heslop powered home a header.

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Sub Ben Sampson then played a lovely ball through for Heslop, who drifted wide before firing inside the bottom corner.

Three minutes from time a shot by sub Craig Spooner was pushed out by Richardson and Kneeshaw slotted home the rebound.

Heslop had a chance to complete his hat-trick when he latched onto a through pass from Sampson but scuffed his shot.

Speaking after the game, Ashington FC’s assistant manager Andy Coyles said: “It was a classic case of a game of two halves. I thought in the first period we were very poor.”

He continued: “The second half was a lot more promising and a lot more pleasing.”

Ashington are away at Cleethorpes on Saturday in the league.

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