Ashington’s unbeaten run continued as Title hopefuls and newly promoted opponents West Allotment Celtic were comfortably beaten at Portland Park. The game was switched to Portland Park from West Allotment’s Blue Flames Ground in the morning because their pitch was waterlogged. Despite the late re-arrangement Ashington still had over 70 in attendance.
Last season the two sides met in a Northumberland Senior Cup match at Portland Park with the Colliers winning 3-1 thanks to a first half hat-trick from Alan Hogg. Michael Chilton, now at Plastic Benfield, scored West’s consolation late in the second half.
Ashington were still without Alan Hogg but Paul Hogg made his return to the starting line-up and partnered Paul Hollier in attack with Christen Priest dropping down to the bench. The away side included ex-Collier Martin Graham in their starting line-up.
In difficult conditions the away side started well and in the 11th minute Andrew Watson beat Lee Anderson but his low cross just evaded ex-Alnwick striker Michael Dixon at the near post. Two minutes later Watson again jinked past Anderson’s tackle before firing in a superb swerving effort from the edge of the area that was superbly tipped over the bar by Andy Clark.
With 15 minutes gone Ross Atkinson’s superb ball found Paul Hollier, but the Ashington striker was crowded out before he could get in a shot at goal and the danger was cleared. One minute later Mark Campbell headed over from an Ian Herron corner.
In the 18th minute Ross Atkinson shot wide from 25 yards after a corner wasn’t properly cleared.
By now Ashington were putting some real pressure on the visitors goal and when Clark’s long clearance put Atkinson in on goal, the winger was desperately unlucky not to score when his effort on the half volley cannoned against the post and away to safety with Celtic goalkeeper Aiden Ames stranded in no mans land.
In the 25th minute a great flowing move almost broke the deadlock when Lawson and Paul Hogg combined to set up the onrushing Campbell, but the Ashington midfielder fired well over the bar from 16 yards under pressure from a defender.
With 29 minutes on the clock Colliers stopper Andy Clark did well to push Phil Coates effort around the post before saving Chris Flynn’s header from the resulting corner.
After having the best of the play in the opening period Ashington took the lead on 33 minutes. Alex Lawson’s superb left wing cross found Ross Atkinson who volleyed over Celtic keeper Ames and into the net to put the Colliers 1-0 up.
The lead only lasted a minute as Andy Watson beat Anderson and Timmons before superbly firing home from a tight angle via the underside of the crossbar to make it 1-1.
Three minutes before half time Alex Lawson’s cross just evaded Paul Hogg before Mark Campbell volleyed wide of goal and in first half stoppage time Ross Atkinson’s cross/shot flashed just past the far post with the sliding Paul Hollier unlucky not to get a touch. An entertaining first half ended 1-1.
Five minutes into the second half Richie Latimer put Paul Hogg in on goal, but West Allotment keeper Ames did well to block the Ashington striker’s effort.
In the 64th minute Bibby’s superb cross-field ball found Atkinson on the right and his early ball into the area found Paul Hogg who got in-front of his marker and rifled home with a powerful effort from 8 yards that gave Ames no chance and put Ashington 2-1 up.
With 76 minute gone Herron found Atkinson in space, but his first time effort from the edge of the box was well blocked by Ames. Five minutes later Darren Timmons headed straight at Ames from Lawson’s corner.
In the 84th minute Ashington secured the points with a third. Aiden Ames’s poor kick went straight to Ross Atkinson and although the keeper managed to get back to cover his goal he had no chance when Atkinson fired an unstoppable right-footed effort from 25-yards that flew into the top left hand corner of the net.
In injury time West Allotment almost scored a consolation goal when Potts got in behind the back four, but he fired just past the post with just Clark to beat.
The game ended 3-1 to Ashington – a great team display by the lads who were all superb. This result also lifted the Colliers out of the relegation zone after Sunderland Nissan lost 7-2 at Newcastle Blue Star. With games in hand on all the sides around them Ashington can now start to pull away from the strugglers and hopefully into mid-table safety with a few more wins.
Ashington: Clark, Anderson, Bibby, Timmons, Latimer, Campbell (Nelson), Atkinson, Herron, Hollier (Rigg), P. Hogg, Lawson (Ritchie).
Subs Not Used: J. Taylor & Priest.
West Allotment Celtic: Ames, Houlsby, Flynn, Allison, Duncan, Graham, Coates, Wilary, Dixon (Parkinson), Potts, Watson.
Subs Not Used: Watts, Peters & Fitzpatrick.