|Tue 19/10/2021||7:30 pm||Northern League - Division 1||2021-22||381|
By Brian Bennett
On a warm night in Wansbeck, Ashington turned the heat on visitors Sunderland RCA with a powerful display at The dwmedia Stadium to record their fifth win from their last six games.
Two goals from Paul Robinson plus strikes from skipper Dean Briggs and Ryan McGorrigan put the Colliers into an unassailable 4-0 lead with only 55 minutes gone on the clock
To their credit, the Wearsiders never threw the towel in – even when they were forced to play the final 20 minutes with only ten men having used all three substitutes – and reduced the arrears through Simon Jakab and Mark Davison.
Both sides went into the contest on the back of eye catching victories at the weekend. Ashington triumphed 4-0 over Crook Town whilst RCA caused one of the shock results of the day with a 3-0 away win at second placed Newton Aycliffe.
The win elevated Ian Skinner’s side up to fifth from top of the Ebac Northern League’s first division and they again delighted their home supporters – in another superb attendance of 381 – with breathtaking spells of football.
They got off to the perfect start too when Briggs pounced onto a back pass in the fifth minute and calmly took his time before firing past ‘keeper Jonathan Ball.
However, only two minutes later, the Colliers were given a sharp reminder that RCA meant business when a ball played in by Michael Coghlan saw a header by Matty Weirs pushed onto the post by home ‘keeper Karl Dryden.
McGorrigan and Ben Sampson both went close to adding to the lead but midway through, Dryden had to be alert to push away a goal bound free kick from 25 yards by Coghlan.
On the half hour, McGorrigan almost got on the score sheet – but would have known little about it. Liam Doyle put the ball into the danger zone and Ball’s clearance struck McGorrigan and ballooned over the bar.
Coghlan was prominent in the middle of the park for the visitors and on the half hour, he curled the ball just wide from distance then had a shot held by Dryden.
Ashington had been guilty of trying to over play during the period – but in the final minute of the half, they doubled their lead after a slick move.
Sampson found Briggs who bisected the rearguard with a lovely ball for Robinson and he coolly slotted wide of Ball.
The Colliers made a breathtaking start to the second period as they added a third with only 35 seconds played.
A neat interchange between Doyle and Sampson released McGorrigan whose cross-cum-shot from the right was lashed into the roof of the net by Robinson.
Ashington were rampant and minutes later, McGorrigan was just wide after a short worked corner between Danny Anderson and Briggs.
On 50 minutes Taylor Richardson had an effort saved by Dryden – before another scintillating move down the right flank culminated in a fourth for the home side.
Sampson played the ball to Doyle and when he crossed to the near post, McGorrigan – sliding in – made no mistake.
However, midway through the second period, RCA pulled one back when Jakab headed home from a corner on the right.
The visitors then had shouts for a penalty turned aside by referee Graeme Hopper when Max Allen went down in the area – and when the number five was forced to leave the field on the 70 minutes mark through injury, it meant the visitors had to play out the remainder of the game with ten men as they had used all three substitutes.
Ashington were knocking the ball around and ‘managing the game’ – and in the closing stages almost added to their tally.
On 84 minutes Briggs put the ball through for McGorrigan who was thwarted by Ball but sixty seconds later, Mark Davison struck home on the half volley for RCA after a cross from the right to make it 4-2.
Back came Ashington and Robinson rolled the ball on a plate for sub Max Cowburn who looked a certain scorer until his effort was brilliantly cleared off the line.
From the resulting corner on the right by Briggs, Robinson had an opportunity to claim a hat-trick – but the midfielder headed wide.