4

Whitley Bay

v

4

Ashington AFC

Tue 13 Oct 2020 | Ebac Northern League Division One | Away

Stadium

Hillheads

Attendance

150

Referee

Chris Joyce

Kick-Off

19:30

By Brian Bennett

A late equaliser from Whitley Bay’s Matty Weirs denied Ashington matching a run of seven consecutive victories - which they last achieved five years ago -as a thrilling goal fest at a wet, damp and on a horrible night at Hillheads on Tuesday ended all square.

Six of the eight were crammed inside the opening 33 minutes of a crazy encounter which saw the Colliers bounce back on three occasions before getting their noses ahead with only two minutes of the 90 left - only for Weirs to have the final say.

Eight was also the yellow card count with the Seahorses collecting six and Ashington two with South Shields-based referee Chris Joyce the busiest man on the field. As the region was hit with over 24 hours of incessant rain, it was a contest which many thought would get the thumbs down rather than the opposite and even during the game, rain swirled around the ground - but the Hillheads pitch held up well.

And incessant was the apt word to describe the non-stop action in a first period of thrills and spills with the Bay edging in front in the third minute with a tremendous effort from Adam Shanks.

Ashington lost possession on the left and when the ball was played across, Shanks curled a left footer from the edge of the area wide of ‘keeper Adam McHugh and inside the far upright.

The home side had started really brightly – and they had a great opportunity to double their lead only four minutes later when Richard Coulson tried to round McHugh but the stopper got a hand on the ball to halt him in his tracks. Ashington’s first venture into the Bay penalty area came in the tenth minute when ex Bay defender Thomas Bramley found Bobby Taylor who crossed but the ball was intercepted.

However, two minutes later, Ashington drew level through Taylor. Briggs slotted a great pass through and Taylor’s right foot finish was exquisite as he steered the ball wide of ‘keeper Chris Bannon and inside the far post. Call it exciting; call it a game of end to end football - but even the spectators were left in a daze after two phases of the clash which resulted in four goals – two for either side. Bay regained the lead on 16 minutes with another fine finish from Shanks after a cross by Coulson but two minutes later, Slater played Briggs in and when he tumbled to the ground under challenge from Mark Robinson, referee Joyce had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Briggs made no mistake sending Bannon the wrong way. 2-2 and game on.

On the half hour, Coulson - who was causing Ashington numerous problems with his skill and pace down the flank - got possession on the left, cut inside and stroked into the far corner for 3-2. Three minutes later Briggs waltzed through in the inside right position, side stepped a defender and fired across Bannon and into the far corner for his 11th goal this term. 3-3.

And …… breathe! With the interval rapidly approaching, Bay had penalty shouts turned aside – and shortly after the adjournment, Bramley headed off the line to deny Lewis Orrell.

However following a first period which had been littered with chances, the second half saw few – until a rip roaring finale. The Colliers had shouts for a penalty waved aside after substitute Jack Butler had charged through the middle but in the 88th minute, a deft flick by Ben Harmison opened the space up for Butler who took the ball wide of the advancing Bannon, steadied himself and rolled the ball into the vacant net.

Ashington thought it was all over …… only they were wrong as in the next minute, up popped Weirs to level, slotting wide of McHugh.

Ashington: McHugh, Kalthoeber (Sampson 31 minutes, Salmon 44 minutes), Gaffney, Emmerson, Coppen, Bramley, Taylor (Butler 46 minutes), Ross, Harmison, Briggs, Slater

Subs not used: Anderson, Scott

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