By Brian Bennett
On a November day where fireworks displays were being held in the evening, Ashington Football Club produced a unique ‘one of their own’ during the afternoon at Woodhorn Lane which certainly went off with a bang!
In what had been billed as a top of the table six pointer, the Colliers – already leading by a super Lee Mason strike after the first 45 minutes – lit the blue touch paper immediately after the interval as Ian Skinner’s side completely demolished league leaders Bishop Auckland 5-0 with a commanding and ruthless performance in front of a crowd of 621.
In a whole hearted display of non stop action, they crammed three goals inside a five minutes period – the latter a sensational lob from 35 yards by Ben Sampson – which clearly left the visitors shell shocked.
The outstanding result made it three consecutive wins in eight days following on from victories over Thornaby and Whickham. Yet from the outset, it looked as if the Colliers were facing their severest challenge of the campaign so far.
The Two Blues – fresh from a 3-1 win over Northallerton in midweek – were quick out of the blocks and after Marcus Giles had got the better of Ryan McKinnon on the left, the defender recovered well to make a superb tackle inside the box to avert the danger.
Then in the seventh minute Dane Burlace found Louis Johnson in space but after bearing down on goal, the striker was denied by an excellent save by home ‘keeper Karl Dryden who spread himself well to block.
Without doubt, Bishops had been the more composed side, spraying the ball around confidently but in the 25th minute, Ashington had their first opportunity after good approach work by Karl Ross. The midfielder found Dan Maguire whose right footed effort was fisted out by ‘keeper Nick Liversedge.
Then on the half hour, James Fairley tried a shot from distance which went narrowly wide of Dryden’s upright.
However, sixty seconds later, the Colliers went in front with a spectacular strike from Mason.
Sampson picked out Ben Harmison with a diagonal pass and when the home skipper headed the ball across, it fell invitingly into the path of Mason who smashed a sizzling half volley from 20 yards wide of Liversedge and just inside the post.
Ashington began the second period much brighter.
Darren Lough ventured forward and when he found Maguire, the forward passed wide to Harmison but his shot from a tight angle went behind.
Burlace then crossed from the right and the ball fell perfectly for Giles but his shot was brilliantly blocked by Andrew Cartwright.
Harmison gave his side more breathing space in the 58th minute when he added a second.
A cross from Ross was headed on by Harmison to Mason who took a touch past Ben Errington before he was tripped by the defender inside the area.
Blyth-based referee Charlie Ford pointed to the spot and Harmison made no mistake, lashing home the resultant penalty.
From the midway point in the period, the Colliers went through a five minutes purple patch to go nap with goals from Maguire, Harmison and Sampson.
Sampson was the architect behind the first of the trio when he charged into the box and passed to Harmison who calmly flicked the ball to Maguire.
The striker cut inside from right to left then stroked home inside the far corner.
Minutes later, Ross won possession off a defender and cleverly slotted the ball through for substitute Adam Johnson. Johnson’s first touch took it past Liversedge with Harmison sliding in for goal number four,
But in the 72nd minute, supporters were treated to a goal of sheer quality from Sampson.
The midfielder intercepted the ball just inside his own half then after driving forward, looked up and from fully 35 yards, nonchalantly and audaciously chipped over the advanced Liversedge.
After sub Craig Spooner fired just over from the edge of the box, Dryden ensured a clean sheet for his side with two saves in the closing stages.
The stopper he dived to his right to push aside a free kick by Ciaran Banks then held a header from Weirs.
|Northern League - Division 1