ASHINGTON chairman Ian Lavery is urging supporters to be part of the club’s history when they play their first game at Woodhorn Lane this afternoon against Ossett Albion.
For a century, Portland Park was synonymous with the Colliers and almost 2,000 fans marked the last game at the old ground in February. Since then, Ashington have ground-shared with neighbours Bedlington Terriers but this afternoon finally move into their brand new complex.
“This is an historic occasion for this great club and it would be marvelous to see a turnout like we had for the final game at Portland Park.
“We’ve kept admission prices down to £5 for adults and just £1.50 for children and concessions,” said Lavery. “Let’s again make it a party atmosphere and hopefully our fans can urge the team to success against Ossett Albion in the preliminary round of the FA Cup.”
His manager Andy Gowens cannot call upon defender Dan Kennerley or striker Robbie Cockburn.
He said: “It’s going to be a difficult game. Ossett Albion are the only side to have beaten Newcastle Blue Star this season and clearly we have a fight on our hands.”
Second Division Team Northumbria are hoping to upset the form book when they host Bedlington Terriers.
“They hammered us in the Northumberland Senior Cup last season but we are a much better team this time and feel we are in with a shout,” said manager Paul Johnson who welcomes the return of Johnny Redhead and Richard Carrick, especially as James Novak cannot play.
Dunston Federation have an attractive tie at Federation Park with Harrogate Railway and manager Perry Briggs is boosted by the inclusion of Andrew Bulford, Stephen Preen and Fergal Harkin.
Whitley Bay travel to Billingham Town minus Craig McFarlane but boss Ian Chandler expects Paul Robinson and Mark Taylor to be in contention for the starting line-up. It’s been all change for Billingham Town following the appointment of Peter Mulcaster during the close season.
He was forced to bring in virtually a new squad and this week boosted numbers with the signing of Adam Livingstone and Paul Roddam. Following their midweek victory at Morpeth Town, Ryton qualified to take on Billingham Synthonia in what will be another difficult tie especially as Synners line up Simon Shaw, Adam Clough, Colin Iley and Craig Perry.
Tow Law Town are in West Yorkshire for their game with Garforth Town. Manager Mick Vasey saw his opponents in action when they were thumped by Newcastle Blue Star on Monday.
Kraig Wilkinson, Kevin Dixon, Anth March, Lewis Teesdale and Luke Sullivan are all suspended and to add to Vasey’s problems, Chris Renshaw will be out for a couple of months with a knee injury.
The FA Cup was paraded at the Nissan Sports Complex last night ahead of the local derby with Newcastle Blue Star. Nissan manager Wilf Constantine awaits news on Chris Bell but Andy O’Shea definitely returns.
Two games are scheduled in Division One with Chester-le-Street looking for their first point at Seaham Red Star where manager Stuart Sherwood could include Stephen Stewart, Paul Wardle and Craig Price who all played for today’s opponents.
Red Star line up Kyle Bird, Johnny Bettson and Paul Atkinson and manager Andy Toman, who took over on the eve of the season, could make signings before kick off.
Spennymoor Town host Northallerton Town and the incentive for victory is that they will lead the table tonight since all four sides above them are all on FA Cup duty.