By Brian Bennett
First half goals from Ryan McGorrigan and Dean Briggs were enough to steer Ashington to a second home victory of the season in their Ebac Northern League first division encounter against Northallerton Town on Saturday.
When ‘Allerton substitute Michael Rae halved the deficit with 20 minutes remaining it could have sent pulses racing in the Ashington camp especially after the Colliers had lost successive matches at The dwmedia Stadium recently despite holding a 2-1 lead. But the Wansbeck side negotiated the final quarter of the contest – plus five minutes of additional time – without too much concern.
The fact that Ian Skinner’s side had to protect the slender advantage was two fold. They were either wayward in their shooting or were thwarted by Northallerton’s debutant ‘keeper Charlie Lamb who was outstanding.
There was little in the way of goalmouth action early doors with both sides feeling each other out and the first opportunity came on the quarter hour mark when Lamb made his mark, touching away a curler from Max Emmerson.
The stopper clutched a 25 yarder from Briggs but had no chance in the 22nd minute when McGorrigan netted his third goal of the season.
Central defender Dominic Agnew – brought in on a month’s loan from South Shields -initiated the move with a cross field pass and it was Karl Ross who slipped the ball through for McGorrigan who, on the turn, clipped his effort wide of Lamb and inside the post.
On the half hour, Agnew made a great tackle to halt Lewis Rees then Curtis Coppen headed wide from an in-swinging corner by Bobby Taylor.
However in stoppage time, Ashington got their second following patient build up play. The ball was played out to Ross who crossed for Briggs to plant a powerful header home.
McGorrigan had the ball in the back of the net again early in the second period but was flagged offside then ‘keeper Karl Dryden intercepted a cross from Nathaniel Skidmore with Curtis Coppen completing the clearance.
Ashington upped the ante with Lamb twice denying McGorrigan then Taylor but in the 69th minute and out of the blue, a cross shot from the left by Rae crept just inside the far post.
In the next minute, McGorrigan touched the ball past Lamb but the ‘keeper somehow got a foot to the ball to deny him then Emmerson and Jordan Summerly linked to set up Briggs who directed a drive from the edge of the box straight down Lamb’s throat.
Northallerton posed a threat on the counter and in the 76th minute Nathan Stephenson fired narrowly over from distance.
Ashington continued in their search for a third and after Briggs had gone close, McGorrigan and Taylor had efforts which were repelled by Lamb before the final whistle brought three welcome points.
|Sat 21/8/2021||3:00 pm||Northern League - Division 1||2021-22||355|