By Brian Bennett

Skipper Nathan Buddle and defender Charlie Exley both returned to action for Ashington following lengthy spells on the sidelines as the Colliers chalked up an eye catching 3-2 win over Consett at the Belle View Stadium on Saturday.

Buddle was on the injured list for two months earlier in the season with an ankle problem before he played in the 4-0 win over Hebburn Town on Boxing Day. He then slipped two discs in his back which has seen him ruled out for the past two and a half months.

Meanwhile Exley – out of action since he sustained an ankle injury in the 2-2 draw at Grantham in early November – returned to the squad in Ashington’s 3-3 draw at Pontefract in midweek where he was an unused substitute.

Woodhorn Lane boss Ian Skinner said of Buddle: “Nathan has trained for two weeks and it was a case of when could we find the right opportunity to get him back involved. Si Jakab pulled out with an illness so Nathan came in on Saturday and he did well. Ideally we didn’t want to leave him out on the pitch for as long as we did – but needs must.”

On Exley, Skinner said: “Charlie has been out for a good while but he’s been back in training for the last 4-5 weeks. We just wanted to be sure and get the results of his MRI scan which came back positive and he’s been itching to return. Obviously he’ll be delighted after coming on from the bench to his face his old club (Consett) – and also getting on the score sheet.”