By Brian Bennett | Photography: Ian Brodie
Ashington bounced back following their narrow 1-0 defeat against Whitley Bay on Good Friday by recording a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Thornaby at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday.
On a beautiful spring afternoon in Wansbeck, two goals from Craig Spooner and one from Paul Robinson accounted for the Teessiders – and the scoreline could have been more emphatic, possibly into double figures, had it not been for an outstanding display by goalkeeper Robert Dean who made some astonishing saves.
The result was the perfect tonic for the Wansbeck outfit after manager Ian Skinner had labelled the match as a ‘must win’ encounter whilst defeat saw Thornaby relegated to the second division of the Ebac Northern League.
Ashington groundsman Scott Robson had the pitch looking a picture with a circular cut field and after only 90 seconds, Dan Maguire – who was to play an integral part in proceedings – played a ball across the face of the goal.
Home supporters were left gasping in the sixth minute as Paul Robinson came within inches of scoring what would have been one of the best ever goals seen at the ground.
Dean slipped whilst launching a clearance and when the ball fell to Robinson, the midfielder struck a lob from the half way line which sailed over the stopper but bounced inside the six yards box and just over the bar. It was an effort which drew rapturous applause from the crowd whilst Robinson afforded a wry smile!
But home supporters didn’t have to wait much longer for their side to edge ahead as Spooner struck in the tenth minute.
Maguire did the spadework with excellent work on the right and when he rolled the ball across the edge of the penalty area, Spooner applied a left footed finish wide of Dean and into the corner of the net.
Two minutes later, Maguire had a shot blocked before a cross by Robbie Dale found Scott Heslop whose header was pushed aside by Dean.
Spooner shanked an effort wide then he was involved in a swift one-two with Maguire which ended with the striker’s right footer flashing narrowly wide.
The Colliers started the second period in identical fashion to the first – on the front foot.
Within the first 30 seconds, Ben Sampson slipped the ball out wide to Andrew Cartwright and when he crossed, Daniel Flounders was happy to turn it behind for a corner.
Incredibly twice within the space of 90 seconds, Maguire put the ball across the face of the goal before Dean denied Spooner.
However in the 57th minute, it was Spooner who doubled his sides lead with his second goal of the contest.
Maguire was again the supplier, laying the ball off for the midfielder whose brilliantly struck effort arced away from the despairing hands of Dean before nestling inside the corner of the net.
Five minutes later, Maguire made it a hat-trick of assists, as Ashington moved into a 3-0 lead. He found Robinson on the left and the ex Whitley Bay weaved inside and out then fired home.
In the 71st minute, Dean continued to perform heroics when he made a double save to deny substitutes Dean Briggs and Lee Mason.
Robinson was next to shake his head in disbelief after the ‘keeper had somehow pushed an effort from him over the bar then after a great run by Dale, the ex Blyth legend and sub Ben Harmison were also thwarted by the stopper.
|Sat 15/4/2023||3:00 pm||Northern League - Division 1||2022-23||649|