By Brian Bennett
Skipper Ben Harmison scored a late penalty for Ashington against Tow Law Town on Saturday to preserve the Colliers’ 100 per cent home record in the Ebac Northern League this season.
The Wansbeck side deservedly took all three points but had to do it the hard way after trailing to a goal on the half hour by Andrei-Vasile Ardelean. As half time approached Luke Salmon popped up to score his second goal of the campaign to equalise then eight minutes from time Harmison calmly slotted home from the spot.
It was an important win for Ian Skinner’s side who were playing their first league game for a fortnight and only their third in over five weeks due to their glorious run in the Emirates FA Cup – but both sides had to contend with a difficult swirling wind.
The Colliers knocked Tow Law off the FA Cup trail back in August in what was a tough encounter and on Saturday, the home side once again had to dig deep against a hard working Lawyers side whose main threat came on the counter attack.
Indeed their was nothing worthy of note in the opening quarter hour and the first chance came when work down the left by Daniel Marriott set up Luke Page but the midfielder drove the ball wide of ‘keeper Karl Dryden’s right hand post.
Ashington began to boss the game and after Paul Robinson had gone close with a right footer from 22 yards, the home outfit pieced together a flowing move.
Andrew Cartwright, Darren Lough, Paul Robinson and Luke Salmon were all involved in the construction but from a cross by the latter, Harmison headed wide at the far post.
Ashington continued to probe and pin the visitors inside their own half and consequently when the Lawyers broke to take the lead on the half hour, the goal came completely against the run of play.
The ball was played through and Ardelean broke from just inside the Ashington half, rounded Dryden and side footed in.
But after an ambitious effort from all of 30 yards by Briggs had sailed over, the Colliers drew level five minutes before the break.
Yannick Aziakonou took the ball past a defender on the right then whipped over an inviting cross where Luke Salmon – steaming in at the far post – bulleted a header into the net.
Early in the second period, Jamie Hanson crossed from the left but Harmison’s shot was superbly parried by ‘keeper Thomas Orton.
However, five minutes later, the ‘keeper excelled himself even further when he finger tipped a 20 yarder from Ben Sampson – which was destined for the top corner – over the bar then he grasped a low effort from distance by Aziakonou.
Ashington continued to press but in the 63rd minute they were almost caught out when Ardelean’s shot came back off the foot of the post.
Similarly in the 79th minute, substitute Liam Smith tracked back superbly to thwart Ethan Bewley when the forward had a clear opening.
But with eight minutes of the 90 remaining, Briggs swung a free kick into the area which was handled by a Tow Law defender.
Referee Matthew Davidson immediately pointed to the spot and Harmison sent Orton the wrong way with the penalty.
Minutes later, Smith played the ball through to Sampson but after cutting inside, the number eight fired wide.
|Sat 8/10/2022||3:00 pm||Northern League - Division 1||2022-23||446|
|Tow Law Town||1|
|Referee||Assistant 1||Assistant 2|
|Matthew Davidson||Thomas Wallace||Isaac Woodward|