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Sunderland RCA

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Ashington AFC

Sat 28 Oct 2017 | Ebac Northern League Division One | Away

Stadium

Meadow Park

Attendance

92

Referee

Chris Ellis

Kick-Off

15:00

By Brian Bennett

A wonder goal three minutes from time by Sunderland RCA substitute Dylan Elliott sewed up victory for his side but was wretched luck for a battling Ashington outfit at Meadow Park on Saturday. The Colliers had been reduced to ten men following Ryan Bell’s first half dismissal then Michael Chilton received his marching orders for dissent after there was controversy in the build up leading to Elliott’s sublime winner.

The extremely strong downfield wind caused problems for both sides and Ashington – kicking with the advantage on their backs in the opening period – made a positive start against a side who had dumped them out of the FA Cup in mid August. Inside four minutes, a clever back-flick by Tony Stephenson sent Luke Salmon scampering through and when he crossed, Lee McAndrew was thwarted by ‘keeper Keith Finch.

Skipper Wayne Buchanan began the next raid, finding Dale Pearson who in turn slipped the ball across for McAndrew. He played Ben Sampson in and the youngster had an effort blocked. Chilton headed wide from a Salmon cross then at the other end, Buchanan cleared from the danger zone after a move schemed by Luke Page and Michael Charlton.

McAndrew struck a right foot sizzler narrowly over before Ashington were reduced in number with the sending off of Bell. The defender made a hash of an attempted header back to Grant which put Nathan O’Neill through 30 yards from goal.

The striker was fouled by Bell who was last man and consequently shown the red card and when play restarted, Grant pushed out the resultant free-kick by Adam McGuinness. Colin Larkin had a shot blocked then Stephen Callen drove across the face of the goal but despite their numerical disadvantage, the Wansbeck side rallied with McAndrew again not far off target.

Grant denied O’Neill before in the last minute of the 45, Ashington went ahead. Chilton’s persistence in pressing the back line saw the defender play the ball to Finch whose clearance was blocked by Stephenson who then swept home from close range. But two minutes later, it was all square as Ross Preston drove a daisy cutter wide of Grant following a free-kick.

And in the fourth minute of five added on, the picture could have been worse for Steve Bowey’s side until Grant brilliantly denied Callen. Early in the second period, Elliott – who had replaced the injured Jonathan Davis just past the midway point of the first period – had a 30 yarder pushed aside by Grant then Salmon burst forward again on a foraging run and his left footer stung the palms of Finch. Ashington’s gallant ten men had defended in great style – and against the wind – and looked destined to deservedly claim a share of the spoils.

That was until things took a turn for the worse in the closing stages. A shot by Callen after a move involving the busy Elliott and Larkin was deflected for a corner then in the 87th minute, the home side were awarded a throw in just inside their own half despite the ball going out of play off their defender.

In the build up which followed, the ball reached Elliott who struck a right footer of unerring accuracy from fully 30 yards which flew wide of Grant and nestled inside the top corner. It was a goal worthy of winning any game – only it was a bitter pill for an Ashington side to take.

Thirty seconds later, Chilton made a comment to the referee and was promptly sent off leaving the Colliers to play out the final two minutes of the 90 plus five minutes of stoppage time with only nine men.

Ashington: Grant, Christensen, Salmon, Sampson, Buchanan, R Bell, McAndrew (Johnston 75 minutes), Downey, Chilton, Stephenson (Henderson 64 minutes), Pearson

Subs not used: Antony, Hornsby, Glasper (gk)

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