Belper Town vs Ashington


Match Report

By Brian Bennett

Those in the know often say that a week can be a long time in football. Try stretching the period from a week to a couple of months!

Recap to a Tuesday night in early January when Ashington took on promotion chasing Belper Town at Woodhorn Lane. The clash which ensued between two evenly matched sides was decided in the Colliers’ favour by a sensational strike from Wilson Kneeshaw.

Back to real time and Saturday’s contest was equally well fought.

After trailing, the Wansbeck side turned it around with excellent goals from Cam Gascoigne and Kneeshaw and furthermore Ian Skinner’s depleted outfit deserved another win after totally dominating the second half and playing some superb football.

But the visitors were left totally deflated when Sidik Atcha netted his second of the game with a sublime equaliser for The Nailers two minutes into time added on.

Afterwards Belper celebrated the point as if it was a win whereas Ashington looked on it as being two points dropped.

Skinner travelled with a mere squad of 13 players due to a number of reasons which included a sickness bug in the camp.

The rain which fell an hour before kick off made the pitch at the Raygar Stadium have a bit of zip to it and it was the home outfit who started the better and who took the lead just past the quarter hour mark.

Charlie Exley – who was making his first full start after coming on as a second half substitute and scoring in the 3-2 win at Consett the previous week – had just had a shot pushed out by ‘keeper Daniel Moore following a corner.

But sixty seconds later, the hosts forced a flag kick of their own on the left and when the ball fell to Atcha, he slotted it into the far corner wide of ‘keeper Karl Dryden.

Ashington’s response was positive. Gascoigne passed to Kneeshaw and the striker’s effort was deflected behind.

On the half hour, the Colliers got back on terms.

Ben Sampson floated the ball into the area and when it was headed out, Gascoigne struck a venomous right footer from 16 yards into the roof of the net.

After that, the Colliers pulled the strings and in the 38th minute, it was Belper ‘keeper Moore who denied them the lead when he tipped a right footer from Sampson onto the bar. The rebound fell to Exley who crossed but Paul Van-Zandvliet headed over.

Then on the stroke of half time, Ben Williams found Kneeshaw who played a one-two with Maguire but Moore again intervened to snuff out the danger.

Early doors in the second period, Sampson and Maguire combined to set up Kneeshaw who took the ball past Moore but Belper recovered to block.

In Ashington’s next move, Maguire released Kneeshaw whose shot was cleared off the line but in the 57th minute, they went in front.

Kneeshaw latched onto a through ball played down the left flank and after heading towards goal, expertly side footed wide of Moore and inside the far corner.

On 70 minutes a full blooded drive by Gary Ormston from 20 yards was goalbound until it took a deflection and went behind for a corner then at the other end a strike by Mason Warren flashed wide.

Inside the final ten minutes of the 90 and Ashington – who were spurred on by their supporters who never stopped singing all afternoon – had chances to add a third.

Moore got a touch onto a shot by Kneeshaw which struck the post and bounced out then Gascoigne went through but his effort was blocked by the home stopper.

As the game entered stoppage time, substitute David Gbehe fired wide following a throw in before Atcha curled the ball with the outside of his right foot from just inside the area past the despairing hands of Dryden and into the top corner which left Ashington completely crestfallen.


Date Time Competition Season Attendance
Sat 16/3/2024 3:00 pm Northern Premier League - East Division 2023-24 453

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