By Brian Bennett
Ashington FC’s home match against Guisborough Town was called off on Saturday morning – after Storm Arwen had wreaked havoc on areas of the Woodhorn Lane ground.
Large parts of fencing were blown down whilst the home dugout – which had been secured to a concrete base – was lifted over the pitch barrier before resting near the main clubhouse entrance.
Ashington Football secretary Gav Perry said: “The Chairman and I arrived at the ground at around 7.30am to assess the situation after being informed of some damage within the ground but at the time we were not aware of the extent of the damage. On seeing the home dugout beside the turnstiles some 30 meters from where it should be, we immediately realised that the damage was going to be more than we initially expected. On a wider inspection of the ground, several sections of fencing were damaged including a 25-meter section being completely down as well as damage to the away dugout. We immediately knew that the safety of players, volunteers and spectators was our number one priority and that the game would not be able to go ahead in the afternoon.”
He continued: “As the winds were still very strong, it was impossible to fully assess the damage and works which would be needed, so we returned on Sunday to get a full picture of this. We have put the wheels in motion for some temporary measures to ensure we can continue to play matches at the ground, whilst permanent repairs are identified and planned in. We have also had several offers of support from our magnificent fans to support us with any clear up and repairs and we are hugely grateful for this. We will be in touch with those making offers of support as soon as we identify when we can get the repairs undertaken.”
Following Saturday’s postponement, Ashington have been informed of two fixtures changes. The home game against North Shields has been brought forward from March and will now be played on Tuesday January 4, 2022 whilst the clash with Guisborough Town at The dwmedia Stadium has been rescheduled for Saturday March 19. Meanwhile Ashington have been drawn away to Bishop Auckland in the Brooks Mileson Memorial League Cup after being given a bye in the first round. With the tie to be played in the midweek preceding February 19 it means the two sides will face each other twice in five days as they are due to meet in their Ebac Northern League first division clash at The dwmedia stadium the following Saturday.