Br Brian Bennett
Ashington marched into the semi finals of the Division One Cup on Tuesday night after brushing Guisborough Town aside at The dwmedia Stadium.
The Colliers will now host Consett next Tuesday (April 12) with a place in the final for the winners.
A quickfire double from Craig Spooner early in the contest set the Colliers on their way and although Priorymen skipper Joseph Bartliff reduced the arrears five minutes before the break with a stunning effort, Ben Sampson’s first goal of the season – which made the scoreline 3-1 – could not have come at a better time.
The Wansbeck outfit deserved their success on the night and banished the blues after losing heavily 6-1 at home against the Teessiders in their Ebac Northern League first division clash recently.
The only downside on the night for Ian Skinner’s side was the dismissal of Luke Salmon. The midfielder – who had already been cautioned on the half hour for a challenge towards the half way line – needlessly erred again with only two minutes of the 90 remaining and was shown a straight red card by referee Kirk Freeth.
That apart, Ashington were in the mood right from the start as they kicked into the teeth of a strong wind. Indeed skipper Ben Harmison – who despite wearing the number six shirt played up front – had the ball in the net after only four minutes following a free-kick by Dean Briggs but the goal was ruled out for offside.
In the Colliers next raid, Ben Sampson charged through the middle before laying the ball off to Spooner whose low right footer was held by Guisborough ‘keeper Robert Dean.
The visitors failed to heed the warning and within the space of three minutes, Spooner not only gave his side the lead but also added a second – with both goals coming from a similar distance.
The first on 14 minutes stemmed from another free kick from the left which was pumped towards the far post by Briggs and when the ball broke to Spooner, he fired home from the edge of the area.
Spooner’s second was even better. Liam Doyle and Sampson linked neatly down the right flank and when the ball was played inside, Spooner glided past his marker before striking a superb left footer from 20 yards which left Dean helpless.
It was just the start Ashington had been looking for and in the 21st minute, Briggs found Harmison at the far post and when he pulled the ball back, Spooner came close to completing a hat-trick as his effort drifted narrowly wide.
Minutes later, another restart by Briggs was held by Dean diving to his right but as the half wore on, the visitors served notice that this cup quarter final was far from over.
In the 37th minute, Cole Kiernan almost pulled one back after a brilliant piece of skill. He received a pass some 25 yards out and instinctively teed the ball up for himself before striking a right foot volley which whistled inches past the post with Ashington ‘keeper Adam McHugh rooted to the spot.
However four minutes later, skipper Bartliff brought his side back into the contest with a sublime effort. The ball was played across from the left where Bartliff squeezed a volley from 22 yards between McHugh and the upright.
Early in the second period, Benjamin Jackson fired wide before there was action at both ends of the field within the matter of minutes.
Just before the hour mark, Spooner turned on a sixpence but saw his left footed shot held by Dean. Shortly afterwards, Yannick Aziakonou played the ball up to Harmison who flicked on for Salmon but he was also denied by Dean.
When play switched, Jackson – up in the attack again – saw his goalbound shot saved by the legs of McHugh.
However, midway through the half, Ashington got the cushion of a two goal lead. Briggs played the ball into the area where Sampson’s initial shot was blocked but the ricochet ran straight into the path of the home midfielder who side footed inside the far post, wide of Dean.
Seconds later, Jordan Summerly went close to a fourth after cutting inside from the left and driving just wide.
Ashington managed the game and kept Guisborough at Bay – but with time running out, the Colliers were reduced to ten men after Salmon’s indiscretion.
|Tue 5/4/2022||7:30 pm||Northern League First Division Cup||2021-22||265|
|Referee||Assistant 1||Assistant 2|
|Kirk Freeth||Steven Liddle||Charlie Ford|