BRAD’S BRACE BRUSHES BLUES ASIDE
Bradley Ash was at it again on Saturday, bagging two goals in Weston-super-Mare’s FA Cup victory at Wingate and Finchley – which leaves the Seagulls just one win away from the first round proper.
Ash’s double came either side of stunning strike from Jake Mawford to give the Seagulls a three-goal advantage, and though they were denied a second consecutive clean sheet after Karl Oligide rolled a penalty in, Ryan Northmore’s side eventually eased to a third win on the trot.
Northmore was forced to make one change to the eleven that reigned at Margate – swapping one Exeter loanee for another – bringing Alex Byrne in for the injured Jason Pope, while Dayle Grubb sat out with an ankle worry.
Both sides started the game in trademark FA Cup fashion, with the balance of play drifting from end-to-end in the opening exchanges, and it was the Seagulls who cashed in via a flowing counter-attack on 9 minutes concluding with Jake Mawford sliding through to Ash, who composed himself before slotting past Bobby Smith in the Blues’ goal.
Wingate and Finchley responded well, and could have been level just a handful of minutes later, were it for the outstretched left mitt of Luke Purnell to repel the effort of Tommy Tejan-Sie.
The home side continued to press for an equaliser, but it was Weston who doubled their advantage through a moment of individual brilliance from Jake Mawford. 35 yards from goal, the mercurial midfielder shifted onto his left foot, lashing past the rooted ‘keeper via the underside of the crossbar.
Considering the nature of FA Cup ties, the pace of the game oddly dissipated as the tie entered the second half. The atmosphere at The Harry Abrahams Stadium was strangely sedate, and any exuberance remaining from the home support was swiftly snuffed out by the red hot Ash who, as he so often does, profited from being in the right place at the right time, tapping home a rebound after Jacob Cane’s mazy run teed up Scott Wilson for a fierce volley that was half-stopped by Smith, giving the Seagulls a three goal cushion with 52 minutes played.
The game was easing towards an anonymous conclusion, but the home side were dealt a lifeline when Jake Llewellyn climbed over Lee Barney in the penalty area, forcing referee Anthony Serrano to point to the spot. Oligide stepped up and sent Purnell the wrong way to pull one back, but it was too little, too late for the Blues, with the Seagulls sensibly seeing out proceedings, ensuring they were in the hat for the next round.
The Draw is due to take place at 10:30 on Monday morning.
Weston XI: Purnell, Keary, Barnes, Byrne, Edge (c), Fortune, Withey (Cane), Ash, Wilson (Page), Mawford (Filipov), Llewellyn.
Substitutes (Not used): Wring, Plummer, McClennan, Jackson.
Man of the match: Brad Ash – Was a consistent threat and once again displayed his happy knack of scoring goals.
Match report written by Sam Frost