|Sat 11/3/2023||3:00 pm||Northern League - Division 1||2022-23||530|
By Brian Bennett | Photo Gallery: Ian Brodie
Ashington left it late before a header from skipper Ben Harmison saw them deservedly secure all three points against Guisborough Town at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday.
In what was a high drama crescendo to the game, Harmison’s clincher came in the last minute of the 90 – seconds after Guisborough ‘keeper Will Cowey had saved a penalty from Damen Mullen.
Harmison – sent off the previous week at Newton Aycliffe – would have started a suspension but in midweek the Colliers were successful after lodging an appeal, which meant the striker was free to play.
The result saw the Wansbeck outfit pick up their sixth double of the season and after an identical score line over the Priorymen last month, it was a similarly hard fought contest.
Indeed, the visitors got into their stride from the first whistle and could have been two goals to the good inside the opening ten minutes.
Striker Jack Blackford had an effort pushed away by home ‘keeper Karl Dryden then Michael McGee was clean through but Dryden again came to his sides’ rescue as he stood firm to foil him by saving with his foot.
Ashington’s first threat came in the 12th minute when Ben Sampson and Dan Maguire combined but when the latter laid the ball into the path of Craig Spooner, Callum Martin nipped in to whip the ball off his toes.
Robbie Dale made a crucial tackle on the by line to halt McGee and from the resultant corner on the left by Shaaban Mohammed, Blackford’s effort from the edge of the area struck the bar.
Midway through the half, Ashington thought they had broken the deadlock – until the goal was controversially ruled out.
Andrew Cartwright’s deep cross from the right was headed back across by Maguire and Harmison lashed the ball into the net – but after consulting with his assistant, referee David Carr disallowed the score for a handling offence which left home supporters bemused.
Ashington had struggled especially in the final third then in time added on, Sampson found Harmison and when he set up Cartwright, the defender’s effort was deflected for a corner.
Minutes into the second period, an excellent tackle in the area by Ryan McKinnon stopped Blackford then when play switched to the other end, Sampson put Dean Briggs through the middle but his low right footer was tipped away by Cowey.
In the 52nd minute, McGee ran through and saw Dryden deflect his shot against the foot of the post then shortly afterwards, the home stopper was called into action again to hold a drive from Blackford.
On the hour, Spooner – after receiving the ball from Mullen – skipped past a defender on a promising run but fired wide of Cowey’s right hand post.
Home boss Ian Skinner had introduced Paul Robinson and the experienced midfielder was certainly influential in the last 35 minutes.
His first piece of action was to find Sampson who lifted the ball through to Maguire whose shot was blocked.
In a grandstand finale Guisborough found Harmison too hot to handle.
On 81 minutes, Mullen and Spooner were involved in a slick combination and when the ball was played to Harmison, his audacious first time volley from 35 yards flashed narrowly wide of the post.
Karl Ross had also been thrust into the fray and within seconds of his introduction, the sub played the ball out wide to the over lapping Cartwright and when he crossed, Harmison’s powerful header smacked against the bar.
Sixty seconds later, Ashington – roared on by their fanatical supporters – created again with Harmison heading over from a Summerly cross then in the 88th minute, Robinson went down in the area after a challenge by a defender and the nearside assistant flagged for a foul.
Referee Carr duly pointed to the spot but Mullen’s penalty was parried by Cowey.
However, Spooner seized on the rebound and when he crossed from the by line, Harmison send a bullet-like header into the roof of the net from close range.
Incredibly, the non stop action continued until the final whistle.
In the third minute of time added on for stoppages, Guisborough were awarded a free kick inches outside the area and Mohammed’s effort went narrowly past the post.
Then on the break, home sub Adam Johnson skipped past two defenders but chipped wide as Cowey advanced.
- David Carr
- Assistant 1
- Keith Jobling
- Assistant 2
- Dylan Ure