By Brian Bennett
Ashington went to the top of the first division of the Ebac Northern League on Tuesday night after a hard fought win against West Allotment Celtic at the East Palmersville Sports Pavilion.
Dan Maguire fired the Colliers into an early lead but Allotment deservedly drew level through Michael Baxter. However five minutes later, Craig Spooner netted what proved to be the winner.
It was a below par performance from the Wansbeck outfit – but they nevertheless strung together their third win of the season to maintain their 100 per cent record.
The home side – who worked tirelessly – saw a lot of the ball in the second period and could have equalised in the dying seconds through Scott McCarthy.
Ashington boss Ian Skinner made four changes from the side which won 3-2 against Newton Aycliffe in their epic Emirates FA Cup extra preliminary round tie on Saturday handing starts to goalkeeper Kyle Hayes, Damen Mullen, Darren Lough and Adam Johnson.
And it was Lough who was the provider of a defence splitting pass which led to Ashington’s opener after only two minutes.
Maguire timed his run to perfection to go past a defender before unleashing a left footer which went wide of ‘keeper Dan Gladstone and into the corner of the net.
But ironically, the goal acted as a spur for the home side and shortly afterwards, Hayes was forced to tip over an effort from Michael Baxter.
Scott McCarthy then fed the ball through for Mikel Thompson but Hayes intercepted at the vital second.
At the other end, good work by Maguire saw him carve out a chance for himself but his shot was held by Gladstone.
Allotment continued to pose a threat and Baxter had two good opportunities but blazed one shot over then put the other wide.
However after knocking on the door, it was Baxter who levelled in the 24th minute, side footing home after McCarthy had unselfishly squared the ball to him.
But Ashington’s riposte was to regain the lead within five minutes when Spooner stabbed the ball home inside the post after a cross from Robbie Dale.
Right on the stroke of half time there was a bizarre incident which almost resulted in a third goal for the visitors.
Johnson closed down ‘keeper Gladstone’s clearance and the ball bounced in the six yards box, hit the bar and ran away to safety.
Ten minutes into the second half, Thompson drove wide then play switched and Gladstone held from Johnson.
Chances were at a premium until in the 79th minute, Dean Briggs played the ball to Dale whose right footer was deflected wide of the far post.
Then in the fifth minute of time added on, Ashington breathed a huge sign of relief when the ball fell to McCarthy but he screwed his effort off target.
|Northern League - Division 1
|East Palmersville Sports Pavilion