By Brian Bennett | Photo Gallery: Ian Brodie
Three quickfire goals either side of the interval, were pivotal as Ashington accounted for West Auckland at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday to secure their sixth league win in seven matches.
The result – coupled with Whitley Bay going down 3-1 at home to Guisborough – saw the Colliers avenge an identical scoreline against the County Durham outfit at the beginning of December and move into third from top of the first division of the Ebac Northern League.
Craig Spooner – restored to a midfield role – netted a brace and could and should have hit a hat trick whilst skipper Ben Harmison and Karl Ross were also on the score sheet as the Wansbeck side turned in another impressive performance on a gluepot of a pitch in front of a crowd of 459.
The home side began well and Spooner ought to have given the Colliers the lead in only the fourth minute.
After neat approach play involving Andrew Cartwright and Dan Maguire, Ben Harmison laid the ball off to Spooner but after doing all the hard work as he cut inside and beat two defenders, he blazed over.
In a rare attack, West’s Gary Brown had a shot pushed away by ‘keeper Karl Dryden before the Colliers knocked on the door again.
Maguire played the ball through to Cartwright whose early cross was blocked then sixty seconds later, only a brilliant save from ‘keeper Daniel Cameron denied Spooner.
Sampson set up the number ten whose volley from the edge of the area was goalbound until Cameron tipped it onto the bar and over.
West featured as a low effort from skipper Jordan Blinco was pushed away to his right by Dryden then a quick turn and shot by Charlie Watt was held by the stopper.
Ashington had dominated possession from the first whistle and it came as no surprise when they took the lead in the 34th minute.
Following a throw in on the right, the ball found its way to Spooner who drove in from 18 yards wide of ‘keeper Cameron.
The Colliers’ second – which arrived in the 43rd minute – was the culmination of patient build up play on the left which started with Harmison.
Damen Mullen and Maguire then played a one-two and when the former clipped the ball to the far post, Spooner was on hand to volley home.
After going in at the break with a two goals cushion, Ashington effectively wrapped the game up in the opening stages of the second period.
Two minutes in and Harmison nodded in a precision corner from the left by Cartwright before the goal of the game arrived in the 51st minute.
With a couple of opponents in close attendance, Sampson wriggled his way out of a cul-de-sac on the half way line and after swift link up play involving Harmison, Maguire and a lay off from Spooner, Karl Ross unleashed a right footer from the edge of the box which rocketed inside the upright.
In the closing stages, Ashington could have gone nap but substitute Lee Mason and Cartwright were both denied by Cameron then Mason and Harmison combined to set up sub Paul Robinson but he blazed over.
|Northern League - Division 1