|Sat 3/12/2022||3:00 pm||Northern League - Division 1||2022-23||216|
By Brian Bennett
Three goals in four minutes in the second half by West Auckland put the skids under Ashington at the Wanted Stadium on Saturday.
Over the years – apart from an odd result – it’s always been a bit of a bogy ground for the Wansbeck side – and so it proved again.
Yet for an hour, there had been no suggestion that either side would be on the wrong end of a heavy defeat until West’s man of the match Corey Nicholson swung the pendulum dramatically in his sides favour.
The first period was a low key affair – so much so that it was the mid way point before the opening chance arrived.
It fell Ashington’s way – and had skipper Ben Harmison tucked it away, it would have not only been worth the wait but also one of the goals of the season.
Robbie Dale, Lewis Suddick and Craig Spooner linked superbly and when the latter pulled the ball back, Harmison was denied at the near post by a fine block from goalkeeper Daniel Cameron.
Six minutes later, Ashington knocked on the door again.
Dale found the overlapping Luke Salmon down the left flank and when the full back put the ball across the face of the goal, Liam Smith was thwarted by a last ditch tackle by a defender.
West’s first effort at goal came after the half hour mark when Cieran Jackson’s shot was held by ‘keeper Karl Dryden.
Then three minutes later Nicholson set up a chance for James Ellis but the midfielder – without having to break stride – fired over from 20 yards.
Nicholson had begun to look a threat down the right flank and in the 38th minute, he set up the first of three goals.
He crossed into the centre where Dryden did well to block from Ellis but the rebound fell to Jordan Blinco who fired home.
With half time approaching, Nicholson provided another cross which was cleared off the line by Ryan McKinnon.
The Colliers made a positive start to the second period. Harmison headed the ball into space where Lewis Suddick struck a volley into the side netting.
At the other end, Dryden made a brilliant double save, the latter from a Blinco half volley then a raid down the right flank by Spooner saw him cross but Suddick lifted his first time effort over the bar.
Just shy of the hour mark, Dale found Salmon down the wing but again his cross went across the face.
It proved to be a key moment as against the run of play, the home side fashioned a second goal with an emphatic finish by Nicholson.
The ball was played into the winger who finished with a rasping effort into the top corner which gave Dryden no chance.
Ashington had not had time to recover from the body blow when they were three-nil down.
Nicholson was involved again, playing the ball across to Blinco who side footed it to Jackson whose deflected shot squirmed past Dryden.
West ended their purple patch in the 64th minute when who else but Nicholson laid the ball on a plate for Jackson who swept home inside the corner.
For the second game in a row, Ashington manager Skinner made four changes and in the final quarter hour, his side came close to at least scoring a consolation effort.
Dean Briggs had a shot from distance which was saved by Cameron to his right then the ‘keeper gathered at the second attempt from the same substitute.
Dryden denied Jackson before Dan Maguire’s right footer from just outside the box went narrowly past the post.