By Brian Bennett

Newly signed striker Wilson Kneeshaw couldn’t have painted much of a better picture on
his Ashington debut after scoring twice and claiming an assist – as the Colliers brushed
North Shields aside following a 4-0 win in their Emirates FA Cup clash on Saturday.

However the Darlington-born forward – an artist – also revealed that it was only after
speaking to a group of people – including some of his former Blyth Spartans mates who
are now in the Ashington ranks – that he decided to give things a ‘go’ after he fell out of
love with the game last season: “I hadn’t really played to be honest,” said Kneeshaw, “I
was at Shildon at the start of last year and fell out of love with football and it was only
after talking to Nathan Buddle, Dan Maguire and Damen Mullen – plus the gaffer
(Ashington manager Ian Skinner) – that I got back into it after they had sold the club to
me. I had a couple of training sessions but was surprised that I was starting this
afternoon (against North Shields) and it was a dream debut with two goals and an assist

  • and a 4-0 win.”

So after a sparkling first appearance for the Colliers, has the success rekindled
Kneeshaw’s love for the sport? “After a performance like today you can’t not,” said the
29 year old, “I loved my debut. I’m happy to be here to try and help the squad and for us
to have a big push this season. For my first goal it was a natural finish and that’s why I’m
on the pitch – to score goals. However, my first touch wasn’t that good in training
because I was a bit rusty and when I scored today I was joking with the lads saying it’s
just bounced off me and gone into the net! For the second goal – it was just instinct and
it’s lovely to find the net.”

Kneeshaw made the fourth goal for Spooner and he added: “I’ve know Craig for a
number of years. We are good pals and I was happy that I could set him up for his goal.
Now it’s just a case of getting back into the swing of things. They are a really good group
of lads at Ashington and I’m excited to get going.”

Boss Ian Skinner said: “Wilson was somebody we were aware of. I’ve tried to sign him
before and it was one of those where we met with him and had a chat with him. He
wasn’t sure what he wanted to do because as he has said himself, he did drift a little bit
(away from football.) He went to Shildon and did well – then he drifted again and went to
play with his pals in the Alliance League and was scoring lots of goals. We spoke to him
earlier in pre season and he indicated that maybes it wasn’t for him and he wasn’t really
interested in coming back and playing at this level.”

He continued: “A few of the ex Blyth Spartans lads – Nathan Buddle, Dan Maguire and
Damen Mullen – also spoke to him and he said he’d come down and do a couple of
training sessions. You can see Wilson has got quality – and he said he’d give it a go. We
threw him in today and it’s a one of them where it’s sink or swim a little bit – and he
certainly swam and rode the waves! So we’re delighted for him and hopefully his
performance today is the first of many.”