Super Sub Morgan sinks Crawley!
Ashington through to Semi finals
Ashington visited Crawley Utd for the second time in successive weeks. After last weeks top of the table clash the side looked to progress in the Semi finals of the HDYFL Plate competition.
Last weeks game ended in a 2-0 victory for Ashington and the side were tasked with improving on that performance.
Formation 3-4-1 Wheatley (GK) Bicknell, Lowdell, Blackburn (DEF) Easdale (c), Booth, Brockhurst, Gorman (MID) Hanley (FWD) Subs Morgan, Paisley & Goodchild
The side began as if fired from a rocket. The collective pressing, positioning and power was mightily impressive as the side looked to throttle the will out of Crawley. It was the sides most dominant start to a game since the season opener against Steyning Town.
The side were first to every loose ball. The players headed and tackled everything that moved. You could see the opposition visibly wilt when they realised they were facing an on form Ashington side.
A special mention for Matt Brockhurst who moved into central midfield and was excellent throughout setting the tempo, retaining possession and setting attacking plays in motion.
To Crawley’s credit they defended manfully and kept the score at 0-0 through the opening exchanges.
Morgan entered the fray on 10 minutes. He immediately set about his work with great energy and intelligence. Having a vital hand in the first goal, Morgan, accelerated down the right hand side, getting to the by-line. The Crawley centre half closed the space and looked to make a robust challenge and win possession. Morgan showed to cross but faked out the wrong footed defender. He cut inside and delivered a low cross. The ball ricocheted up in the air near the penalty spot.
Seizing on the loose ball Booth, got back on the goal trail - he stretched a telescopic leg to hook in a well placed volley. 1-0 to Ashington. The deadlock was broken.
The suffocating pressing continued and Hanley added two goals before half time. Assisted by Gorman and Brockhurst.
The pick of them - Hanley ran into the left channel, stood his defender up, shifted the ball onto his right foot and lifted the ball over the static keeper from the edge of the box. Incredibly this was Ashington's 100th Goal of the season so far in just their 14th Game!
Such was the dominance in the first half, Crawley manage to force only one corner. This was delivered at a searing pace from the right. However, The danger was snuffed out by Wheatley who rose to claim the ball calmly as if his gloves were magnetic. Such moments are become standard fare for him but it clearly demonstrates that his willingness to practice regularly has made him a very reliable keeper.
Half time: Crawley 0 - 3 Ashington. An excellent performance that must have demoralised the opposition.
The side began the second half with the same level of performance as the first.
The side quickly added a fourth goal: Hanley stooped at the near post to header in after a finely weighted near post corner from Gorman. An excellent finish, a Hat-trick on the day and Hanley’s 31st goal of a prolific season. These have come in just nine appearances, well done Brendan.
The fifth goal was set up by Morgan. He again displayed superb technique driving down the right wing beating his marker. He demonstrated what a bright player he is by choosing to deliver a low cross rather that shoot from the tight angle. Easdale tracked the play, drifted in from the left hand side to finish smartly into the net.
The side only needed to see out the game to progress into the Semi final. For the final 10 minutes the players were allowed to try different positions to help their development.
During this period the players kept their high work rate going but Crawley managed to create a few opportunities.
It was fantastic to see the pride and commitment shown by Paisley when late on he cleared off the line to stop a certain goal. On what was a soggy pitch Wheatley, allowed a high shot to slip away from his grip. Paisley was alive to the danger and made a brave challenge and clear the ball. Well done.
This moment preserved the clean sheet and has added significance.
The side completed the month of November without conceding a Goal. Winning all four fixtures whilst scoring 22 goals.
A fantastic team achievement but a special mention must go to Wheatley in goal and the core group of defenders. They rarely receive the plaudits in the match reports but they are the foundation the side is being built upon. The are a tenacious group who have embraced the never say die attitude you need to be a defender. A fantastic effort by you all (over the month and season to date) so well done to: Alcott, Blackburn, Goodchild, Paisley, Mace, Lowdell and Bicknell.
The side progress to the Semi Final and await the draw.
Potential opponents include: Perrywood Wolves, Chesworth Rovers or Horsham Sparrows.
Captain: Tom Easdale
MOM: Yusuf Morgan