By Brian Bennett | Photos: Ian Brodie
Ashington suffered a blow to their promotion hopes when Tom Romano slotted home a stoppage time winner for Whickham at the First Mortgage Glebe Stadium on Tuesday night.
For the neutral it was an exciting contest which went one way then the other but for the Colliers, who trailed league leaders Newton Aycliffe by three points, it was the game in hand they had over the County Durham side who now remain in pole position.
For the umpteenth time this season, it was the proverbial game of two halves. Ashington were bright and dominant in the first period and although they deservedly reached the break one goal to the good through Karl Ross, the lead should have been more.
Then second half, the Lang Jacks – kicking with the slope – were the better outfit giving everything they had in terms of work rate and desire. After scoring a controversial equaliser within minutes at the start of the second half, they netted twice on the counter to seal the points whilst Ashington’s recent newcomer Scott Heslop grabbed his first goal for the club on his full debut which at the time brought the scores level at 2-2.
And it was Heslop who caused the home side all sorts of problems particularly in the early stages.
In the sixth minute, he fired wide then on the quarter hour, met a cross from Ben Sampson to direct a brilliant header which thudded against the angle of post and crossbar.
Heslop was a constant livewire and later he drove narrowly over on the turn before he struck another effort which was deflected then turned around by ‘keeper Nicky Liversedge.
Lewis Suddick was next to fire off target after he met a cross by Ross before the home side registered their first shot after the half way mark with Robson well wide. Seconds later, Romano looked to be closing in on goal until he was stopped in his tracks by a great tackle from Robbie Dale.
Back came Ashington and after Lewis Suddick had exchanged a couple of one-two’s with Heslop, he shot wide.
But the goal which Ashington had warranted eventually came in the 32nd minute.
Initially the ball was played from the right, Ben Harmison got a foot to it to set up Jordan Summerly whose driven cross was blocked but the ball ran out to Karl Ross who clipped an effort inside the corner of the net on the half volley.
The Colliers deservedly led at the interval – but those missed chances were to come back and bite them.
There have also been moments of controversy in the last few games for the Wansbeck side and early in the second period, came another huge talking point which resulted in Whickham’s equaliser.
Darren Lough thought he had ushered the ball out for a goal kick but with no flag from the assistant, Romano picked up possession, cut across and slotted past ‘keeper Karl Dryden.
Minutes later, the Colliers were appealing for a foul which was not given and Dan Turner flashed a shot wide.
At the other end, Harmison met a cross by Summerly to send a left footed volley past the upright.
Ashington’s defence were having their work cut out by the lively Whickham front line – in particular Robson – and midway through, the centre forward cut inside then drove an effort narrowly wide.
Within seconds, the home side forced a corner on the left and Ross Peareth was not far away.
Then in the 72nd minute Whickham took the lead.
Ashington were exposed on the break and who else but Robson made them pay the penalty when his pace took him through and after side stepping Dryden, he slotted home.
Three minutes later, it was Robson again down the right who set up Romano but Dryden saved superbly blocking the ball with his legs.
In the 78th minute, the Colliers got back on level terms.
A move started in midfield by Dale ended when a cross from the left by Ross was turned in by Heslop.
Minutes later, Sampson found substitute Craig Spooner who had a great opening but fired over.
In the second minute of time added on for stoppages, the Ashington defence were caught out again and when the ball was played across, Romano hammered home what proved to be the winner.
|Tue 28/3/2023||7:30 pm||Northern League - Division 1||2022-23||246|
|Referee||Assistant 1||Assistant 2|
|Charlie Ford||Samuel Bunting||Jake Ferguson|