Hebburn Town progressed through to the second round of the Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup with a 2-0 victory over Easington Colliery on Wednesday night.
Easington manager Paul Frame made eight changes from Saturday’s win at Esh Winning with Shaun Smith, Dan Martin and Shane O’Brien being the only players to keep their place.
The game kicked off in rather slow fashion with both sides looking to get a good feel of the ball. Aidan Goodey was looking to exploit Hebburn down the flanks but wasn’t finding an awful lot of joy with balls into the penalty area.
Hebburn created what was the game’s first chance in the 13th minute as Chris Feasey cut in to find Iain Bickerstaff. Faking a shot, Bickerstaff helped it on further to James Davidson but Martin chased down and blocked Davidson’s attempt.
Despite not creating many real chances, Hebburn were looking the brighter in the opening quarter of an hour with Easington offering very little. And, in the 17th minute, Hebburn’s pressure was rewarded as they broke the deadlock. William Jarvis-Smith collected the ball on the corner of the penalty area before cutting in and curling an effort into the far corner from 12 yards.
Easington Colliery didn’t have time to settle back into the game either as only three minutes later, Hebburn Town added a second. Feasey whipped a dangerous cross into the back post where Chris Thompson managed to stab the ball towards goal and it beat Ethan Anderson to double the Hornets’ lead.
Two goals in quick succession proved to be a real sucker-punch for Easington who were still struggling to get the ball up field.
In the 28th minute, the Colliers managed to carve out a half chance as Liam Gill found Nathan Renton but the man who scored a brace against Jarrow Roofing last week could only watch as his effort from 20 yards was blocked.
A teasing Scott Wallace cross found the head of Davidson for the hosts eight minutes from time but O’Brien was able to block and clear as the ball was destined for the bottom left corner.
Renton found himself with a shooting opportunity for Easington in the 39th minute but a bobble in the pitch meant the ball bounced up and hit his hand just as he was about to pull the trigger.
Easington ended the first half quite brightly with both Reece Kenney and Renton forcing Steven Hubery into saves but there was nothing too testing for the former Horden CW goalkeeper and Hebburn Town went into the break with a two goal cushion.
Much like the first half, the second half started in slow style with little happening in the first 10 minutes. Nine minutes in, Davidson found room to shoot for Hebburn but his effort was wayward.
Seconds before the hour mark, good football from Hebburn Town saw Davidson, Jarvis-Smith and Ross Toward all link up well to give Davidson a chance but his effort failed to find the target.
Looking to spark some life into the East Durham outfit, Smith drove down the wing before whipping an inviting ball into the penalty area with 65 minutes played. However, it was slightly too far in front of Renton who would have caused real problems for Hubery had he got a touch.
The second half was very quiet with Hebburn looking content with two-nil and Easington still struggling to create much in attack despite the introduction of top scorner Joe Kerridge.
In the 79th minute, Feasey collected a Bickerstaff pass on the edge of the penalty area and the former South Shields man cut in before unleashing an effort which had Anderson scrambling but the ball bounced the wrong side of the post.
Easington created a decent chance with less than three minutes remaining as quick football found Joe Kerridge on the penalty spot but his powerful effort was blocked as a host of bodies threw themselves in the way.
The final chance of the game saw an Easington corner be flicked on at the near post but it somehow evaded everyone and bounced behind for a goal-kick.
It was a disappointing night for Easington Colliery who will be looking to respond in fine style at Penrith in the FA Vase on Saturday.
Full-time: Hebburn Town 2-0 Easington Colliery
Hebburn Town: Hubery, Malley, Perry, Thompson, Summers, Toward, Feasey, Bickerstaff, Davidson, Jarvis-Smith (Watson 76′), Wallace (c)
Unused substitutes: North, Burrell, Oliver
Easington Colliery: Anderson, Smith, Nesbitt, Martin (Croft 46′), O’Brien (c), Willis (Kenney 21′) (Kerridge 73′), Goodey, Freeman, Gill, Renton, Wood
Unused substitutes: Pounder, Donaldson
Referee: Paul Cooper