Bainbridge sends North Shields through to last four with extra time winner

North Shields' Gareth Bainbridge. Picture by Ian Warde
North Shields' Gareth Bainbridge. Picture by Ian Warde
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North Shields progressed to the semi-final of the Northumberland Senior Cup with a deserved victory over Ashington at The Daren Persson Stadium on Wednesday night.

In a similar fashion to the Morpeth Town FA Vase game nine days earlier, Shields were dominant in a first half that saw goalkeeper Chris Bannon never called upon in the Ridges End goal.

James Luccock was lively throughout on the right wing and was instrumental as the half went on.

Ben Richardson had the first decent opportunity with a free kick narrowly going over, and half chances continued to present themselves with the Robins dominating the attacking play.

Dean Holmes constantly made ground down the left and was unlucky not to open the scoring with a cross goal shot that no one managed to get on the end of.

Michael McKeown, James Luccock and Ryan McGorrigan all had decent chances to open the scoring but saw their chances flash over the cross bar.

The opening goal came after 35 minutes and will surely be one of the best of the season for the club.

Quick one-twos on the edge of the box involving McGorrigan, Gareth Bainbridge and Holmes saw the young left winger through on goal and finish with a fantastic dink over the keeper to warm the cockles of those wearing red in the crowd.

It was no more than Shields deserved as they trotted off the pitch at the interval knowing in reality they should have been two or three to the good.

The Colliers started the second half far livelier, no doubt after a dressing down from manager Steve Harmison, but despite their increased possession they did not create their first shot until 55 minutes, which flew over.

John Parker, recently a new father, hobbled off ten minutes into the second half after coming on as a substitute, and is now a doubt for the Whitley Bay game.

Ashington enjoyed most of the possession early in the second period, but despite this Shields were rarely troubled and always looked in control.

As the period wore on North Shields came back into the game and had the majority of the attacking pay with the lively Peter Glen-Ravenhill making his case for a place in the starting line-up having come off the bench.

With the game petering out, Ashington played their trump card in injury time when they were given too much space in the box and their first shot on target cannoned off the crossbar down onto the goal line and into the net, much to the delight of the travelling away support.

Spectators left dreaming of a cup of Horlicks and some warm slippers were left to endure 30 minutes of extra time.

Those that left early missed 30 minutes of almost total dominance by North Shields as the dangling carrot of a semi-final place sunk in.

The game should have been finished just after half-time of extra time when McKeown somehow missed after being teed up on the penalty spot.

That was the chance, or so it seemed, until Dean Holmes, who was magnificent on the left, danced past a couple of defenders and progressed along the by-line, drawing the keeper out. It was left to Bainbridge to tap into an empty net in the 118th minute, much to his delight, and the majority went home delighted but cold.

North Shields: Bannon, Donnison, Lancaster, McKeown, Coppen, Hughes, Luccock, Richardson, Bainbridge, McGorrigan, Holmes. Subs: Parker, Ormston, Glen-Ravenhill.

Next up for North Shields is a trip to Whitley Bay on Saturday for the ‘El Coastico’, with a decent crowd expected.

Shields have a second derby next week when they travel to South Shields for a League Cup game. The tie is all ticket and around 100 remaining tickets are available to buy from the Daren Perrson Stadium any morning, except Sunday, from 9.30am to 11am.