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Late dramatics see Anchors through in FA Cup

Kev Hayes scored a stoppage time winner as Stockton Town came from behind to beat ten-man Ashington. 

The Anchors dominated the first half but were made to rue missed chances when Jordan Summerly put Ashington ahead.

Captain Adam Nicholson came up big when he scrambled in a leveller.

Ashington were reduced to ten men with three minutes of regulation time remaining when substitute Scott Heslop saw red for a challenge on Cameron Painter.

Stockton took advantage of the extra man six minutes into injury time when Hayes struck the winner to send them through to the FA Cup First Qualifying Round.

Manager Michael Dunwell named three changes to the team that lost 2-1 at Hebburn Town. Dan McWilliams, Michael Sweet and Stephen Thompson all came in for their first starts of the season.

Ashington had the game’s first attempt on goal when Summerly forced a strong save out of Callum Roberts with a long range strike.

Ten minutes into the game, Stockton had their first go at goal when Painter sent a strike wide from outside the box.

Painter then turned provider when he set up Michael Sweet with a cushioned header but the latter was unable to find the right connection to take it past the goalkeeper Karl Dryden.

Painter was again at the heart of it with a in-swinging corner which evaded Dryden but Nicholson could not quite guide it towards goal.

The chances continued to come for Stockton and they were getting closer. Nicholson again got his head on a corner but this time it was cleared off the line by Yannick Aziakonou.

Then Painter went close when he headed McWilliams’s cross wide inside the six-yard box.

Another two chances fell Stockton’s way. First the ball played long to Sweet who took it down but his powerful strike was straight at Dryden. Then Thompson cut inside and got an effort away but it was comfortable for Dryden.

Ashington had survived an onslaught and they took confidence from that by taking the lead early in the second half. Summerly’s corner from the right evaded everyone and went straight in for the opener.

Stockton searched for an equaliser and went close when a powerful volley from Michael Fowler brought out an unbelievable save from Dryden.

Another major chance went for Stockton when Sweet’s header, from a Lewis King cross, crashed against the bar. Immediately from the breakaway, C.Roberts produced an excellent save to keep Stockton in the tie.

That proved crucial as Stockton did find an equaliser when Painter’s corner was missed by Dryden and Nicholson was there to turn the ball in.

Ten minutes later Stockton should have had the lead but substitute Mikey Roberts could only fire wide when he was found free in the box.

Stockton were handed a chance to go on and settle the tie when Heslop saw red for a challenge on Painter.

It looked like it was going to be Dryden’s day when denied a late winner from Nicholson with a point blank save.

Another opportunity fell the way of the Anchors and they took it when Hayes was found in the box by King and he turned before he buried it firmly past Dryden.

The win means Stockton Town are through to the First Qualifying Round for the first time since 2021. They are back in league action on Wednesday night when they host Bridlington Town.

Stockton Town: C.Roberts, King, McWilliams, Portas, Nicholson (C), Coulthard, Sweet, Painter, Fowler, Thomspon (M.Roberts 68′), Hayes

Unused subs: Haase, Bulmer, Birtles, Frampton

Ashington: Dryden, Errington, Summerly, Ross (C), Aziakonou, Lough, Gascoigne (Heslop 46′), Sampson, Maguire, Archer (Mullen 67′), Kneeshaw

Unused subs: Dopson, Hardy, Williams, Coombe

Goals: 0-1, 51 min, Summerly; 1-1, 73 min, Nicholson; 2-1, 90 min, Hayes

Attendance: 332

Words: James Cartwright

Photo: Harry Cook




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