By Brian Bennett
There was a feeling of déjà vu for Ashington at The dwmedia Stadium on Tuesday night when high flying North Shields took all three points courtesy of a strike by Chris McDonald midway through the first half.
The result saw the Robins return to second top of the Ebac Northern League’s first division whilst the Colliers went down to their second narrow defeat inside four days.
However as at Sunderland Ryhope CW on Saturday, the Wansbeck outfit deserved to take some reward from the contest for their overall performance over the 90 minutes.
But again as on Wearside, for all their patient build up play and well constructed moves, it was the final third which ultimately proved to be their downfall.
Ashington skipper Ben Harmison was a late withdrawal due to work commitments so manager Ian Skinner brought Thomas Kalthoeber in at centre back for his first full start of the season whilst former Shields player Craig Spooner was handed the captains armband.
In front of another bumper attendance of 666, the visitors – who are still battling on three fronts with the League, Buildbase FA Vase and Techflow Northumberland Senior Cup – got off to a sensational start as they took the lead after only 70 seconds through their in-form and hotshot striker Dan Wilson.
Wilson got possession and – allowed time by the home side – struck a wonder goal from 20 yards with his left foot which arced wide of home ‘keeper Karl Dryden and just inside the upright.
Ashington’s first effort came on 14 minutes following neat work down the left involving Bobby Taylor and Dean Briggs which ended with the latter lashing the ball over from distance.
Four minutes later, the Colliers drew level with a gloriously constructed goal. Briggs switched play from right to left with a sublime pass which found the overlapping Jordan Summerly who advanced to the by line before pulling the ball across for Lewis Suddick who fired in from close range to record his second goal in as many matches.
However, a significant turning point arrived in the 22nd minute. Briggs again switched the play on this occasion to the right and when Craig Spooner returned the ball into his path, a curler by Briggs was superbly pushed away by ‘keeper Oliver Marshall.
Play switched immediately with the visitors being awarded a free kick and when the ball found McDonald on the left, the full back’s low right foot shot crept past an unsighted Dryden and just inside the post.
The Colliers, after being guilty of careless passing early in the game, improved considerably and had a lot of possession. On the half hour Suddick tried his luck with a 25 yarder which was held at the second attempt by Marshall.
Two minutes later, only the woodwork prevented Shields from extending their lead. A corner on the right swung in by Cartwright fell to Gary Ormston whose effort struck the post and rebounded to safety.
Ashington continued to press for an equaliser before half time and after Marshall had held an effort from Adam Johnson, Ben Sampson and Spooner combined to set up Taylor but he blazed his shot well over.
Incredibly, the second half was devoid of a notable chance until the 73rd minute when the Shieldsmen broke but Wilson clipped wide. Seconds later, at the other end, Marshall fielded an effort from Johnson.
Then with 12 minutes left on the clock, David Robinson seized onto a back pass from Curtis Coppen which lacked pace but the midfielder was denied by a great block by Dryden.
Home boss Ian Skinner made three substitutions and in the final stages, sent Coppen up front. And in the fourth minute of stoppage time, Ashington had shouts for a penalty turned aside by referee Lewis Reynolds after Coppen went to ground under challenge inside the area.
|Tue 25/1/2022||7:30 pm||Northern League - Division 1||2021-22||666|
|Referee||Assistant 1||Assistant 2|
|Lewis Reynolds||Steven Liddle||Alexander Ferriday|