By Brian Bennett | Photo: Ian Brodie

Gary Ormston not only made his debut for Ashington in Saturday’s match against Liversedge at Woodhorn Lane – but also made his bow at Northern Premier League level.

An FA Vase winner with Whitley Bay and a league winner with North Shields, Ormston admitted that it is those ‘buzzes’ which drive him on.

Last week he signed for the Colliers from Newcastle Blue Star – a move which he says was a ‘no brainer’ and one which left him excited: “When I spoke to manager Ian Skinner, it was a no brainer,” he said, “Ashington are a top club with top people around. I’m really excited to be honest and now that I’m 40, to get excited again is quite a good thing!”

Benwell-born Ormston was named in the starting line up and he gave his reaction: “You are always trying to prove yourself in football but especially when you get a little bit older,” he added, “All I wanted to do today was to hit the ground running and do myself justice – and I thought I did that. The lads took to me quite well – I know most of them after playing against them for years – and I thought I fitted in quite well. I enjoyed it and hopefully my experience will help the team.”

Ashington lost the game 2-0 and Ormston said: “We huffed and puffed but Liversedge are a big strong side We played some football which was half decent and made some good chances and openings and I thought we were quite unlucky.”

Ormston – a builder – reflected on his successes beginning with Whitley Bay’s 3-2 triumph over Coalville Town in the 2011 FA Vase final at Wembley “Whitley had already won the competition the previous two years and we went on this unbelievable run,” he said, “We had lads in the side like Paul Chow, Lee Kerr and Paul Robinson and I literally just shored everything up. To win it was a dream and a fantastic experience.”

He continued: “To lift the Ebac Northern League first division title with North Shields at the end of the 2021/22 season was a memorable occasion too – and that’s why I’m still playing now – for those little buzzes. My best game of football was also for North Shields in the final of the Northumberland Senior Cup at St James’ Park in 2016 when we beat Blyth Spartans 4-3. I scored the opening goal with a curler from the outside of the box at the Gallowgate End and we clinched victory in the last minute.”

Ashington boss Ian Skinner said: “Obviously Gary is someone who I have known a long long time. We were preparing for the game against Liversedge and knew we potentially had nine players unavailable – four of which were central midfielders. We heard the news that things had changed at Gary’s club and we went through the formal procedures – and I thank Newcastle Blue Star for their co-operation in waiving the seven days notice. We spoke to Gary and joining us was something which he was keen to do -certainly in the short term to come and help us out on Saturday. We are having some discussions about potentially getting him to stay until the end of the season and hopefully we can come to an arrangement which will suit both parties. He arrives with a wealth of experience and also adds some height to the squad but I love the fact that he just keeps the game so simple and retains the ball – and I think he’ll be a fantastic addition for us.”


By Brian Bennett | Photo: Ian Brodie

Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner – after seeing his sides’ unbeaten run of five matches ended by Liversedge on Saturday – has thrown down a new challenge to his playing squad.

Goals by Joe Walton and Alex Wollerton gave the visitors a 2-0 victory in Wansbeck but the boss said afterwards: “Obviously I’m disappointed that our good run has come to an end. It was going to end at some point but we didn’t want it to be today especially with us being at home and after having had such a good performance on the road last week (at North Ferriby). It would have been nice to have put on a good showing but it wasn’t to be. We’ve been fantastic but now my challenge to the lads is to get back on the horse and start a new run – and see if we can extend it beyond five matches this time.”

Skinner thought there was nothing between the sides in the first half on Saturday: “I thought it was pretty even,” he said, “They (Liversedge) had a couple of opportunities to take the lead including when out ‘keeper Karl Dryden has made a little bit of an error with a poor clearance but we have defended brilliantly to get back on the line – and then we’ve had a couple of chances ourselves. The goalkeeper (Jordan Porter) has made a comfortable save at his near post from Connor Thomson then we’ve had a great little move where Wilson Kneeshaw has hit the crossbar.”

Ashington conceded in stoppage time and Skinner said: “I was really disappointed with the goal we conceded because I thought it was avoidable,” he said, “It came in the fifth minute of three minutes minimum to be added on. I thought as the ball is dropping out of the sky maybes if Ben (Williams) and Karl (Dryden) had communicated, I think we could have played it back to Karl. Ben sliced the clearance for a throw in which I thought we defended really well but we put it out for a corner. Karl has come to catch the corner and not quite got there and after a header by Walton, the assistant judges that the ball has gone over the line. So to go in 1-0 down right on half time was disappointing.”

Skinner was mystified as to why Wilson Kneeshaw had an effort ruled out ten minutes after the break: “I thought we started the second half quite brightly and had a couple of good opportunities,” he added, “For me, we’ve scored a perfectly good goal which I think has been ruled out for offside – and if was, I can’t explain why. I’ll watch it back on the veo but I’ll be gobsmacked if Wilson Kneeshaw (who netted) is offside. It was a big turning point in the game because if the goal had stood it would have made it 1-1.”

He continued: “We pushed bodies forward to try and get back into the game and we‘ve been caught again with a bit of a poor goal of the counter attack – but I take responsibility for that because I asked lads to push forward in their numbers. We need to keep playing the way we play and to stick to our principals as well as processes and our philosophy of when we go behind in a game because what is happening at the moment is becoming a little bit of an achilles heel for us. I know it’s difficult. Liversedge executed a classic away performance where they went 1-0 up and sat a little bit deeper. They let us have the ball and invited us to come onto them and see if they could hit us on the counter attack which they have done. They will say they had a plan and it was ‘job done’ and that’s fair enough. I just think that sometimes when the game runs into the latter stages when we are behind, we sacrifice a little bit of our short sharp incisive passing and our combination play in and around the penalty area and whether we get nervous or try and force things a little bit it doesn’t quite suit us. However, we’ll train hard this week and prepare for our away trip to face Grimsby Borough on Saturday.”


By Brian Bennett

Morgan Dart says he is ‘excited’ about joining Ashington after signing on the dotted line last week.

The 22 year old said: “We have got some very good players and coaches here and I’m excited. I want to be playing at as high a level as I can and with better players so this will be a great step up for me.”

South Shields-born Dart came on as a substitute in the closing stages against North Ferriby on Saturday – and had a one on one chance within 30 seconds: “To be honest, I wasn’t expecting the ball to come through so soon,” he said, “Kyle Errington has clipped it; the defender has mishit it and I just went through. The ‘keeper has made a good save but we got a goal from the corner so that was the main thing.”

Dart had earlier looked on as Ashington ripped North Ferriby to shreds after the break – and reckons he hasn’t seen a better second half performance for a long time: “To come here and play as well as we did against a team who are challenging for the play offs was unbelievable – it was a great win.” he added.

Ashington boss Ian Skinner said: “Morgan is a player who came to our attention through one or two people within the game that we trust in terms of their opinion after they’ve seen and watched him. They’ve monitored him for us over a number of weeks and they said it was time to have a look at him. We put seven days in for Morgan then brought him in and he trained really well. Obviously numbers wise we were short at North Ferriby today and were keen to get him on the pitch. It’s an ideal opportunity to get a new player onto the pitch when you are 4-0 up in a game and he went clean through with his first touch and did everything right to be fair to him. He cut across the defender, squared the goalkeeper up then tried to put the ball through the goalkeeper’s legs who got the faintest of touches with his heel and it’s gone behind for a corner. What a start that would have been!”

Skinner concluded: “Morgan is a livewire and adds more pace to the team. He’s a willing runner and I think he’ll be good for us – and we’re looking forward to working with him and watch him flourish.”


By Brian Bennett | Photo: Ian Brodie

Ashington FC’s teenage defender Ben Williams believes he has fitted ‘quite comfortably’ into the Ashington set up – thanks to his team mates!

The 19 year old has put in some sterling performances over the past few games after coming into the side and he said: “I think I’ve slotted in quite comfortably. The lads around me have all helped and I’m really loving my football.”

The Newcastle-born defender was happy with his own performance on Saturday as Ashington crushed North Ferriby 5-0: “I thought everything which I did today was solid,” he added, “I block tackled everything which came my way so I was very pleased with how I performed.”

Williams looked on as the Colliers hit all five goals in the second half against an outfit that are in a play off position: “I have played in a few games in my time but not many like this one,” he said.

Bedlington-based Williams says the Ashington forwards play an integral part: “It’s such a relief when you see our strikers always making those runs – or you can find others in-between,” he commented, “It makes things so much easier for us to play out from the back.”


By Brian Bennett

Wilson Kneeshaw took his goals tally for the season to eight after scoring a brace on Saturday as Ashington claimed a convincing 5-0 victory over a shell shocked North Ferriby side in their Pitching in Northern Premier League East Division clash.

And afterwards, the 29 year old said: “It was a great performance. Credit to North Ferriby because I thought they also played football which really aided the game. First half it was 50-50 – they had chances and we had chances – but we just weren’t quite as sharp as we have been recently in and around the box. To be fair the coaches said at half time that we would get those chances – and in the second half we just steamrolled them (North Ferriby). We quelled all of their chances and continually created ones for ourselves. We knew we were going to be in a game but the coaching staff prepared us well and I don’t think anyone put a foot wrong.”

The home side struggled to cope with Ashington’s pace particularly from Kneeshaw and the Darlington-born striker – who is an artist – added: “I travel to training with our assistant manager Andy Coyles and coach Ritchie Hill and we’ve been talking about our side having so much pace,” he added, “Up front apart from pace, we can also play as well which really confuses defenders. However, all of the lads have done really well by playing the balls at the right times – and long may it continue.”

After the sides had drawn a blank in the first half, Kneeshaw quickly broke the deadlock and added a second minutes later: “I was really happy that I could help the team and put us in front,” he said, “For the second goal it was a great ball by Dan Maguire which put me through one on one with the ‘keeper. To be honest I tried to touch the ball around him (the ‘keeper) but then I saw it was going to roll into the goal and when it did, I celebrated with the fans.”

Meanwhile Max Emmerson, who was introduced as a substitute for injured skipper Karl Ross earned a massive pat on the back from Kneeshaw: “I thought Max was fantastic,” he added, “He came on and really grabbed his opportunity. I thought he was solid in midfield and did everything you could want.” Kneeshaw concluded: “We are all working for each other; our team spirit is fantastic and defensively and offensively we are doing so well at the minute.”


By Brian Bennett

In many ways, Ashington’s 5-0 demolition over North Ferriby on Saturday was reminiscent of their majestic performance against Glossop North End in the Inter Step play off victory which earned them promotion to the Pitching In Northern Premier League.

Also at the end of April, the volume which the travelling band of supporters generated down in Derbyshire was unbelievable – and the fifty or more fans that made the trip down to North Ferriby gave their side noisy backing throughout the 90 minutes.

In reply, the players gave the supporters plenty to shout about especially in the second half. After a goalless first period, Wilson Kneeshaw and Conor Thompson both netted twice and in the closing stages Craig Spooner also got his name on the score sheet.

Ashington manager Ian Skinner was obviously jubilant with the crushing win but when he emerged from the dressing room, he immediately deflected all of the praise onto his players: “Listen, the boys deserve all of the credit,” said the boss, “we are on this run of form whereby everybody is buying into what we are trying to do and everybody is together. When we’re on our game, it’ll take a lot to beat us – but we just need to make sure that we’re ‘on it’ week in week out because it’s a tough league. However, little tiny things really please me and late in the second half we may have been 3-0 up at the time when their number ten (Josh Whitley) – who I thought was excellent – went clean through. Our ‘keeper Karl Dryden has come rushing out; the number ten has gone around Karl but Kyle Errington has busted a gut to get back and block the ball on the line. Five or six players of our lads have then run over and patted Kyle on the back – and that’s what this group of players are about.”

He continued: “We only trained once during the week due to the amount of injuries we had plus unavailability and we travelled down today knowing that it was going to be a good footballing game. Hats off to North Ferriby who try and play similar to us and I think that showed in the first half because it was pretty even if the truth be known. We had a great chance very early in the game where Conor Thomson has gone clean through and the ‘keeper (Jordan Douglas) has done really well to save. North Ferriby had a couple of chances and I remember one lad has skipped past one or two challenges and gone around Karl (Dryden) but we’ve blocked it on the line.”

He added: “At half time we got in and said to the players that we couldn’t ask for much more really in terms of the performance and we always thought we would be a threat going forward because of the pace and power which we had. I thought we started the second half really brightly. There were a couple of good quick incisive passing moves and we managed to get runners in behind – and we scored within two minutes of the restart. Then when we get in front, this group of players are really difficult to play against because they know that the opposition have to come out and try and have a go at us. When teams do that, it leaves space for us and with our forward players, we know we will hurt anybody – and today we’ve been clinical and got through the back line maybes up to six times and ended up scoring five goals. The other pleasing side of that was how when we were even 4-0 up, the lads were still throwing their bodies in the way and defending the box manfully. I’m delighted because they are an unbelievable group of players who I enjoy spending time with and they can achieve whatever they want to achieve – only I don’t tell them that very often because if I did they may take their eyes off the ball. At times we are our own worst enemy – and that’s why we always keep on their backs to be the best they can be.”

He went on: “We lost Karl Ross late in the first half and I keep saying that injuries are part and parcel of the game but we travelled down today without eight players – hence why we could only name three substitutes including Morgan Dart, a young lad who we have signed. In the last two weeks, when the players are on their game and ‘at it’ – we are as good a side as anybody in this division.”


By Brian Bennett | Photo: Ian Brodie

Ashington FC defender Si Jakab lauded his team mates with praise following their 4-0 victory over Nottinghamshire-based opponents Carlton Town on Saturday.

The Colliers went through an unprecedented first half where despite holding a 2-0 lead, they sustained a succession of injuries which forced them to use their maximum allocation of three substitutes with almost an hour of the game remaining: “It’s always difficult when you get injuries early in the game but there were three in a row within ten minutes,” said Jakab, who is based in Sunderland, “On the pitch, you keep swapping positions and changing formation and it’s not easy to adapt to it. However I thought we did fantastically well and the subs that came on did themselves proud because sometimes it’s difficult to get into a game especially early on but credit to them and the whole squad.”

Jakab – who was born in Budapest in Hungary – believed that despite the changes, Ashington were comfortable: “Carlton posed some threats but as a back four – or a back five when we needed to depending on injuries – I thought we dealt with everything and having the midfield lads in front of us made us a bit more comfortable at the back,” he said. The 23 year old is enjoying his football with the Colliers and took time out to appreciate the whole set up at Woodhorn Lane: “It’s difficult to get into a team where you have got good people on and off the pitch,” he said, “But absolute credit to the management – they have put things together really well. I love it here – whether it’s at training; being in the changing rooms or spending time after the games. I feel we’ve got a squad who on our day can beat anyone because we stick together.”


By Brian Bennett | Photo: Ian Brodie

Karl Ross – honoured to lead the Ashington side out in the absence of injured skipper Nathan Buddle – thought the Colliers were tremendous as they blew away visitors Carlton Town at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday after a convincing 4-0 victory.

The 25 year old said afterwards: “Obviously it was a big occasion with it being Remembrance Day. We started well and went 2-0 up then the injuries started to hit us towards the middle of the half – and it did disrupt us. If they (Carlton) had got one back, 2-1 is a tricky score line and it could have turned into a difficult game. However, the third goal shortly after half time calmed all our nerves and the result was never in doubt. We just dominated – and I thought the lads were tremendous today.”

Cramlington-based Ross believes Ashington – who were promoted from the Ebac Northern League’s first division at the end of last season to the Pitching In Northern Premier League East Division – are ‘finding their feet’ following the step up: “Adapting to a new league takes time,” he said, “We are coming up against a different type of football but in the last few games we have started to find our feet and are coming on strong.” Ross is delighted to wear the captain’s armband for his home town club: “It’s my fifth year here and I love it,” he added, “We’ve got a great dressing room and whilst Nathan (Buddle) is out, it’s a great honour to lead the lads out in my role as vice skipper.”


By Brian Bennett

A delighted Ian Skinner emerged from a happy Ashington dressing room on Saturday night after his outfit had demolished Carlton Town by a 4-0 score line at Woodhorn Lane.

And the boss – who labelled his sides display as being ‘magnificent’ – added that the performance was one of the best of the season.

Skinner’s team were rampant from the off and sailed into an early two goals lead through Connor Thomson and Dan Maguire. At the start of the second period, substitute Oli Thompson and Connor Thomson were both on target and the Colliers should have added more to their tally.

“The lads deserve full credit – each and every one of them including the couple of lads who didn’t get onto the pitch today,” said Skinner afterwards, “We knew beforehand that it was going to be a tough game. However, from the information we had gathered on Carlton, we had a plan which we thought could cause them some problems – and all credit to the players who I just thought were ‘at it’ and brilliant from the first whistle. We talked about how we have made a couple of long journeys this season including last week when we went down to Grantham and how difficult it can be regardless of how early you arrive at the ground and how vigorous the warm up is to get the journey out of your system. So we spoke about being at home; being on the front foot; starting really positively and playing at pace – and I think we did all of those things and raced into a 2-0 lead, with two very good goals to be honest.”

Skinner then bumped into an unusual on-field situation – one which he reckons he has never had to face before: “There was a crazy little period in the game where we lost three players to injury,” he added, “I’ve lost a left centre back (Darren Lough) and a left back (Jordan Summerly) so we’ve had to shuffle the pack then one of the subs we brought on (Cam Gascoigne) has also gone off injured and I don’t think I’ve ever been involved in a game where I’ve had to make three substitutions in the first half hour. But again credit to the lads because it meant two or three reshuffles and slight tweaks to how we had originally lined up and I thought we dominated the game if the truth be known. Carlton had a couple of threats from set plays; long throws; a couple of corners and free-kicks where our ‘keeper Karl Dryden has either claimed the ball or we have defended the box really well but I thought we looked a constant threat on the break.”

He continued: “To be honest, it was nice to get in at half time so we could just settle on a few things and get some real clarity into what shape we were playing. We managed to do that and we talked about looking to keep the ball and make them (Carlton) have to chase and come towards us. We thought we could really hurt them on the counter attack – and we scored two brilliant counter-attacking goals at the start of the second half. Carlton just couldn’t cope with the pace; the movement and the power we had up front today. We’ve won 4-0 and scored four very good goals and should had a few more but listen, the players were magnificent – every single one of them. I think it’s up there as being one of our best performances of the season and I told the lads in the dressing room to go and enjoy the rest of the weekend because they deserve it.”

On Saturday (November 18), Ashington go to North Ferriby and Skinner concluded: “They are a good footballing side – so it should be a cracking game.”


By Scott Messenger

Exactly 105 years ago today saw the end of the Great War (World War 1) as the armistice was signed at Le Francport that ended the fighting between the Entente (the Allies consisting of France, the UK, Russia, the United States, Italy and Japan) and their last remaining opponent Germany.

In 1921, just three years after the end of the First War One, Ashington Football Club were elected to form the Football League Third Division North along with the likes of Tranmere Rovers, Accrington Stanley, Lincoln City, Grimsby Town, Wigan and Stockport County.

As the Colliers squad battled against some of the best teams in the country during their eight seasons in the Football League, not many would have been aware that a number of the players had actually been on the battlefields of France and Belgium just a few years earlier.

One of the most interesting stories was that of goalkeeper Thomas Newton. Born in Ryton, Thomas had just signed for Swindon Town when the war broke out. He served as a private in the Football Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment. He was the Regiments first casualty on active service when he suffered an injury while disembarking the SS Bellerophon at Le Havre in the early hours of 17th November 1915. About a year later on 13th November 1916 he was wounded in action and taken prisoner by the Germans. After the war he joined Portsmouth before joining the Colliers in August 1924. He made is debut at home to Chesterfield as Ashington won 2-1 in front of 5,000. He earned his first clean sheet just 2 days later as Ashington beat Doncaster Rovers 2-0, but unfortunately the Colliers run of good form didn’t last long and he was dropped after a 7-1 defeat at Bradford Park Avenue, replaced by Ralph Ridley. He played 16 games in total, leaving Ashington to join Crawcrook Albion.

Another goalkeeper, William ‘Bill’ Bradley, joined the Colliers in September 1927, and made his debut in a thrilling 5-4 home defeat against Lincoln City. Born in Dunston, William joined Portsmouth before signing for Newcastle United just before the war. When the war broke out, he joined the Tank Corps and the Royal Garrison Artillery, serving as a gunner. He eventually made his Newcastle debut on November 1st 1919 in a 1-0 win against Preston North End. He even played in the 1924 FA Cup final as Newcastle United beat Aston Villa in front of almost 92,000 at Wembley Stadium. After joining Ashington, Bill made 36 League and 1 FA Cup appearances over two seasons before moving to North Shields.

Another Ashington player to have served in the Royal Garrison Artillery was Francis ‘Frank’ Chipperfield. After spells at Leeds, Lincoln City, Middlesbrough and Carlisle United, Frank joined the Colliers in 1923, making his debut in a 4-0 defeat at Wrexham. He would go on to make 173 appearances in the League and FA Cup for Ashington over 6 seasons, scoring 9 goals.

Left back Stephen Buxton, who played in Ashington’s first football league game, a 1-0 win at Portland Park against Grimsby Town with 9,000 in attendance, served in the Royal Army Medical Corps during the Great War. Before the war he had played for Brentford and Oldham Athletic.

Right back/left half Thomas ‘Tommy’ Henderson joined Ashington from Workington after spells at Newcastle United and Southampton. He served as a private in the Durham Light Infantry during the Great War, where he was wounded in action in France. He made 45 League and FA Cup appearances for the Colliers, scoring 3 goals.

Ashington born outside right Matthew Hopper had two spells at Portland Park. Hopper served aboard a minesweeper in World War One. After a brief spell at Ashington after the war and before the Colliers joined the Football League, Hopper joined Lincoln City before moving on to Millwall. He later made the move to Coventry City before returning to Ashington in 1927, making his debut in a 2-2 draw at home to Bradford City, claiming an assist for the second goal. Making a total of 21 League and FA Cup appearances for the Colliers, he scored his only goal for the club against Southport in a 3-1 defeat at Portland Park.

Ex-Manchester United half back Frank Knowles made his Ashington debut in a 6-1 defeat away at Grimsby Town in 1921. The First World War broke out just as he was beginning to establish himself at Old Trafford. During the War he served in the Royal Garrison Artillery and whilst training at Aldershot played for Arsenal in the London Combination. After the war he had brief spells at Hartlepool United and Manchester City before making the move to Portland Park. He would later go on to play for Stockport County, Newport County and Queens Park Rangers.

Wing half Willy Pigg joined the Army in 1915 at just 17 years of age and was twice wounded during active service. Making his Ashington debut in a 2-1 away win at Crewe Alexandra in October 1921, Pigg made 104 appearances in League and FA Cup for the Colliers, scoring once. He left Ashington in 1924, joining Queens Park Rangers, where he spent two seasons before making the move to Carlisle United.

Albert Tubb was a right half who joined the Colliers from Northern League South Bank, making his debut in a 3-0 home win against Walsall in March 1923. During the Great War he served as a sergeant in the Northumberland Fusiliers. While he was at South Bank he reached the FA Amateur Cup final, getting a runners-up medal as they went down to a 5-2 defeat to Bishop Auckland after extra time at Middlesbrough’s Ayresome Park. He left Ashington in June 1925, making the move to Barrow.

These players were some of the fortunate ones that survived the Great War. We thank them for not only representing our great club, but for putting their lives at risk to defend and protect Britain and its allies many years ago. We must remember them and the many others that made the greatest sacrifice back then and in the many conflicts all over the world since.