By Gary Bell
There were two changes to the Ashington starting eleven for the midweek game away to North Shields from the side that defeated Northallerton on Saturday with Anderson in for Taylor and Harmison replacing Agnew who dropped down to the bench.
The Colliers started the game on the front foot and were unlucky on two minutes when a stinging goalbound effort from Karl Ross hit Ashington forward Ryan McGorrigan and deflected to safety. Sheilds went on an immediate reply with Dan Wilson breaking down the right and crossing into the box. Carl Dryden in the Ashington goal got a hand to it but the ball spilled from his grasp, but he quickly recovered to grab the ball to his chest at the second attempt.
Ashington’s plans were thrown into disarray in the fourth minute when Max Emmerson went down in pain in an off the ball incident and after lengthy treatment he limped from the field to be replaced by Davey Luke. The Ashington midfielder was called into action on nine minutes when a cross from the North Shields right was met by a powerful header by Dan Wilson in the area, but Luke managed to divert the effort with a header in the six-yard box. With the rebound falling to Jack Leonard on the edge of the box Danny Anderson did well to throw his body in front of his shot to block the effort to safety.
North Shields were in the ascendancy and Curtis Coppen had to be on his toes when a through ball sent Callum Smith clear down the right, but the Ashington defender managed to make a last-ditch tackle to divert the danger. Coppen then became an unlikely source of attack for the visitors when he picked up the ball on halfway and drove into the North Shields half hitting a swerving effort from 30 yards which went just the wrong side of the left upright. A minute later McGorrigan was sent in on goal with a through ball by Ross but his shot was pulled wide of the goal.
A sustained period of pressure then ensued with the home side taking control of proceedings. On 25 minutes Bramley, Coppen and Anderson all made good blocks from consecutive efforts on goal before Ben Harmison was able to hook the ball to safety. A penetrating run from Andrew Cartwright then saw the full back cut inside of Anderson and his cross into the box found Smith but his shot cleared the bar. A minute later however the home side’s pressure told when a neatly worked one-two down the left saw Jack Leonard and Cam Cunningham exchange passes before the latter lashed a shot from the edge of the box into bottom right corner.
The game fell into a lull until two free kicks in two minutes almost added goals at both ends. Ashington were awarded a free kick just into Shields territory on the left and Anderson delivered a pinpoint cross into the box where Harmison’s outstretched leg just sent the ball over the bar from close range. A minute later the home side were awarded a free kick which was whipped into the box by Cartwright, but Paul Van-Zandvliet saw his powerful header sail over the bar to safety.
The half time whistle sounded with North Shields good value for their 1-0 lead.
Ashington came out into the second half with renewed energy and on 48 minutes good work down the left by Jordan Summerly saw the ball played in to Dean Briggs on the edge of the area. He held off the centre half to turn and fire an effort towards goal and was unlucky to see it said just the wrong side of the post. A minute later Briggs looked to have been fouled when breaking into the area but the referee surprisingly waved play on.
Ashington were pressing high and restricting the home side’s attacking options and it wasn’t until 60 minutes were on the clock that Shields produced their first real effort of the half when Smith hit a long-range effort which Dryden collected comfortably in his midriff.
Ryan McGorrigan was unlucky shortly after when he latched onto a cross from the right to hit a left footed volley goalwards from a tight angle, but his effort was saved low down by keeper Greg Purvis.
In a rare Sheilds foray into the Ashington box the ball bounced around before Leonard hit a powerful shot which Bramley did well to get his body in front of to block to safety.
Halfway through the second half Dean Briggs picked up the ball on the edge of the opposition box and struck an effort towards goal. His shot took a slight deflection which spun it up into the air and Purvis had to quickly back-peddle to just get his fingertips to the effort to avoid it lobbing over him and into the net.
Ashington were pushing hard to get back on level terms. McGorrigan had an effort blocked by Chris McDonald when well placed and Ross saw a long-range shot go just wide. Dean Briggs saw a free kick from just outside the box fumbled by Purvis, but it was hooked clear, but Anderson picked up the loose ball before playing in a cross that McGorrigan was inches away from as he lunged for the ball.
With the game going into injury time the visitor’s efforts looked to have been in vain but with one final push a long ball from the back saw substitute Luke Salmon break clear of the home defence. As he powered into the box Purvis made a desperate lunge catching the feet of the attacking Ashington player. With the referee poised to blow for a penalty the ball fell to the feet of the onrushing McGorrigan who calmly slotted the ball into the empty net to bring the scores level.
There was barely time for the game to restart before the referee sounded the final whistle. With honours even both sides could be pleased with their evenings work.
|Wed 25/8/2021||7:30 pm||Northern League - Division 1||2021-22||344|
|Daren Persson Stadium|