Brave Swans finally bow out of FA Vase

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NEWPORT Pagnell Town’s best ever run in the FA Vase came to an end on Saturday when they were beaten 3-2 by Ashington AFC in front of a bumper Willen Road crowd.

After a cagey opening to the fourth round tie, Ashington took the lead in the 13th minute when Phil Bell’s lay-off picked out midfielder Mark O’Dea who controlled with his first touch and drilled a low shot past Josh McAdoo with his second.

And the side from Northumberland doubled their advantage on 21 minutes when a deep corner from Darren Mullen found Gareth Rees unmarked to head home at the far post.

Newport had been guilty of over-hitting passes in the opening stages, but their first chance brought them a goal after 26 minutes. Richard Armstrong’s shot was blocked by a defender, but Daren Dykes swept home the loose ball from close range.

And the Swans were level on 35 minutes when a Keith Williams corner from the right was headed in by the towering Dean Buss at the near post.

However, a lack of concentration proved costly for the home side in front of more than 600 fans as Gareth Bainbridge pounced to put Ashington back in front after the ball rebounded off the crossbar barely two minutes later.

Newport almost fell further behind when Andrew Johnson’s cross was headed against the underside of the bar by Bell, before the second half lacked the excitement of the first, although Karl Dryden in the visiting goal did well to turn away a rising drive from Williams from a rolled free kick by Liam Smyth.

That was as close as the Swans came to forcing a replay though as Ashington held on to book a last 16 tie and another long trip to Gloucestershire to face Shortwood United.