Historically Northumberland clubs have always been prominent in the Buildbase FA Vase, and this year proves to be no different as Ashington and Bedlington Terriers have reached the first round proper of the competition.
Ashington 6-2 Crook Town
Ashington started their road to Wembley at home to Crook Town after receiving a bye in the first round qualifying. However, they didn’t get off to their desired start as they fell to an early Nathan Stephenson goal within the first 5 minutes.
But tables turned minutes later as The Colliers replied with a quickfire double from striker Channon North to give them the advantage just 12 minutes in at Woodhorn Lane.
A vital goal before half time brought the tie back for the County Durham side and ensured the first 45 minutes ended in an honours-even affair with all to play for in the second half.
Ashington pushed on after the break and grabbed the lead through dual-registered Blyth Spartans forward Jack Butler, followed by Channon North completing his hat trick on 55 minutes after connecting with a corner kick.
Crook Town seemed to fall apart after going behind and Sam Norris capitalised on 67 minutes before former Team Northumbria forward Gez Richardson made it 6-2 late on to add insult to injury for the Black and Ambers.
Bedlington Terriers 2-0 Redcar Athletic
It was a proud moment for Northern League newcomers Redcar Athletic as they stepped onto the field at Welfare Park for their first ever FA Vase tie.
But it might be a debut to forget for the Teesiders as they failed at the first hurdle against fellow division two side Bedlington Terriers - a team who finished runners up in the competition during the 1998/99 season.
The first goal came through former Blyth AFC player, Dylan Williamson who gave the Terriers the lead before half time with a close range finish.
Redcar started the better side after the break. Although a penalty dispatched by Stephen Young halted any progress in Northumberland and ultimately sealed the game for Bedlington after 90 minutes. 2-0 the final score.
Whickham 2-1 Whitley Bay (AET)
Prior to their tie against Whickham, Whitley Bay had won a successive five games in all competitions whereas their opponents were struggling to adapt to top tier Northern League football – without a win so far in the season.
The Seahorses started the game brightly and dictated the play in the early stages. But despite their early dominance, the goals seemed hard to come by at the Glebe Sports Ground.
However, the deadlock was broken on 41 minutes by free-scoring Jack Foalle – the striker slamming in after finding space at the back post following a cross from Oliver Martin.
Despite going behind, Whickham pushed for an equaliser and got their wish at the brink of half time through a stunning Dale Burrell strike from 25 yards - which proved to be an important goal as the score remained 1-1 after 90 minutes.
Extra time gifted Whickham the win with a stroke of luck coming in the form of an own goal which proved to be decisive factor in South Tyneside – the Lang Jacks holding on to progress into the next round.
Bishop Auckland 3-1 West Allotment Celtic (AET)
An uphill climb awaited West Allotment as they travelled to nineteen-time Northern League champions Bishop Auckland after breezing through the first round qualifying against Yorkshire Amateur.
And Celtic made the task even harder when they gave away a penalty early on in the game, with Kristian Sands tripping Kyle Fryatt inside the area.
Bishop Auckland captain Callum Patton took responsibility for the spot kick and fired his side into the lead - placing his penalty into the right corner.
After being a goal down, Celtic battled on and managed to level the score just minutes after half time – Dean Walker’s effort from outside the box evidently too powerful for goalkeeper Nicholas Liversedge.
Extra time followed and the away side desperately held on until the 106th minute, substitute Christopher Winn breaking West Allotment hearts with two goals in the second half of extra time to progress the Two Blues into the first round.
After two rounds of qualifying, we now enter the main competition where 233 teams will battle it out to reach the final at Wembley Stadium in May – a once in a lifetime opportunity for many players in the lower leagues.
Furthermore, Ashington and Bedlington Terriers will receive a bonus of £725 each for winning their second round qualifying ties, with the losing teams also pocketing £250 in prize money from The FA.