League: Northern League - Division 1

Penrith vs Ashington

By Brian Bennett

Goals either side of half time from Luke Salmon and Adam Johnson secured Ashington maximum points from their clash with Penrith at The Leo Group Stadium on Saturday – in a game which will be quickly forgotten about by supporters.

The only consolation for the crowd of 127 was that it was a pleasant afternoon in Cumbria – other than that, it was a hard watch from start to finish.

However, the upshot of the situation was that the Colliers – returning to league action for the first time in over three weeks – picked up three points which took them up to fourth in the first division table of the Ebac Northern League.

Salmon, on his return to the side, was head and shoulders the best player on the pitch and his goal – which came in the dying embers of the first half – was not only his first of the season but also provided a rare highlight at least for the travelling contingent of fans.

With both goalkeepers unavailable, Ashington boss Ian Skinner handed a debut to 16 year old Adrian Janusz as well as central defender Ryan McKinnon, recently signed from Tow Law Town.

The game was flat from the first whistle and it took 15 minutes for the first chance to arrive.

Paul Robinson twisted one way then the other in the area but his right footer – destined for the top corner – was superbly pushed away by home ‘keeper Aaran Taylor.

Midway through, Johnson got possession and advanced but curled his effort wide of Taylor’s right hand post.

The game was crying out for a goal – and Ashington went close twice in as many minutes.

Andrew Cartwright and Craig Spooner set up Robinson whose first timer from 20 yards just went the wrong side of the post with Taylor rooted to the spot.

Then from a throw in by Salmon, Robinson crossed to the far post where Harmison – on the stretch – clipped wide.

McKinnon was next to go close with a header from a Cartwright corner but 90 seconds before the interval, Salmon broke the deadlock.

Karl Ross laid the ball back to Darren Lough and when he floated it forward, Robinson glanced on. Salmon took one touch to go past a defender before firing low between Taylor and the post from an angle just outside the six yards box.

Ten minutes into the second half Johnson added the second. Harmison headed the ball across for the striker who raced forward and when his first effort was blocked by Taylor, Johnson stabbed home the rebound.

On the hour, Johnson had a shot deflected wide but Penrith served notice that they were not finished.

Five minutes later, Andrew Murray-Jones drilled the ball wide of the upright; Janusz pushed away a free kick by James Best then another effort came off an Ashington defender and went behind for a corner.

Ashington fashioned two chances in the final ten minutes which would have put the game to bed.

Salmon found Johnson down the left and when he crossed into the middle, Harmison lifted his effort over the bar.

In the last minute of the 90, Cartwright’s through ball on the right set up substitute Dan Maguire but he got too much height on the ball as he lobbed over Taylor but also over the bar.

Ashington are back in action on Tuesday night (September 27) when they make the short trip to East Palmersville Sports Pavilion to face West Allotment Celtic in the first round of the Northumberland Senior Cup (7.30pm kick-off).

24 September 2022 - Penrith AFC v. Ashington AFC


Carlisle City vs Ashington

By Brian Bennett

Ashington lost their 100 per cent league tag but remain unbeaten in the first division of the Ebac Northern League after Brandon Longcake hit by a late equaliser for Carlisle City on Tuesday night.

The game was in stark contrast to Saturday’s ten goal thriller at Ashington when the Colliers crashed out of the Isuzu FA Vase to Billingham Town, with only a few chances throughout.

Indeed after five goals were scored inside the opening quarter hour last Saturday, it was the 14th minute before the first opportunity materialised at The Three Rivers Health & Safety Consultancy Stadium when Luke Salmon, arriving at the back post, headed wide a cross from the right by Thomas Kalthoeber.

With both defences resilient, it was the half hour mark when the next chance arrived and was a prelude to what was to follow as Lee Mason had a shot blocked with Paul Robinson being thwarted from the rebound by home ‘keeper Stephen Townsley.

But after a defender had made a timely interception to prevent a certain opener from Mason, Ashington edged in front two minutes before the break.

Dean Briggs floated a free kick into the penalty area and after Mason had seen another effort charged down, Robinson made no mistake as he hammered the loose ball inside the bottom corner.

The limited chances in the first period had all fallen to Ashington – and in the first minute after the interval, another came their way.

Skipper Briggs was put clean through in the inside left channel but he took a heavy touch which allowed the advancing Townsley to close him down and block the effort.

City fashioned a couple of opportunities which were on target with Robbie Ivison finding Jordan Holt whose shot was turned around by Dryden then Longcake – after wriggling inside the penalty area – drove wide.

It just wasn’t going to be Mason’s night as ten minutes into the half, he was denied a fourth time. Robinson and Salmon combined down the left and when the latter crossed, Mason got a good connection on the ball but was again foiled by a defender.

Dryden gathered a shot from Holt at the foot of the post before the home side drew level five minutes from time when a cross from the right was steered wide of Dryden by Longcake.

After defending well but conceding so late, it was frustrating for the Wansbeck side – but on the balance of play, the Cumbrians deserved a point.


Ashington vs Sunderland RCA

By Brian Bennett

Two late goals from substitute Ben Harmison saw Ashington preserve their 100 per cent record and stay top of the Ebac Northern League’s first division after victory over Sunderland RCA at Woodhorn Lane on Tuesday night.

Both sides went into the clash fresh from 5-0 wins at the weekend – the Colliers taking the scalp of Crook Town and RCA with an away success at Penrith.

And it was the Wearsiders who threatened to put a spoke in Ashington’s unblemished record as they took an early lead through striker Mark Davison.

For the remainder of the half, the game developed into a one sided contest, as Ian Skinner’s side relentlessly poured forward – and the pattern for the second 45 minutes was identical.

RCA were well organised and they defended stubbornly and manfully – and it had begun to look as if visitors would repel anything which the home side threw at them –

and more so after ‘keeper Keaton Marrs had made a magnificent save from Robbie Dale just short of the half way point in the second period.

However, it was manager Ian Skinner who provided the key which unlocked the door. He introduced Harmison on 68 minutes and the Ashington skipper came up with a timely double in the final stages, equalising with ten minutes remaining then scoring the winner in the third minute of time added on.

But back to the first half where the visitors took a shock lead in the eighth minute.

Davison headed in from six yards but much of the credit should go to RCA skipper Kieran Charlton who supplied a superb cross from the left.

Ashington began to probe with Marrs taking a shot from Craig Spooner at the second attempt; Paul Robinson playing a one-two with Lee Mason but seeing his shot deflected for a corner and Dale trying his luck from 35 yards with an effort which flew wide.

A good move by the home side ended with Jordan Lavery blocking a goalbound strike from Spooner then another shot by Dale was not far away.

Andrew Cartwright struck a free kick straight down Marrs’s throat but in the 32nd minute, the full back showed great awareness and his lob from 50 yards flashed inches wide of the upright with Marrs beaten.

Briggs headed wide from a Cartwright corner but in a rare raid, the last chance of the period fell to the visitors with Dominic Moan lobbing just over.

The second half began with Dan Maguire finding Spooner who fired wide with a first time effort.

And the pattern continued as Ashington created chance after chance. Robinson and Jordan Summerly combined down the flank and when the left back delivered a first time cross on the half volley, both Mason and Briggs had shots blocked.

Briggs headed wide before a corner by Cartwright saw RCA clear after a scramble.

In the 65th minute, Dale received the ball from Maguire and cut inside but looked on as his left footer – arrowing towards the top corner – was brilliantly pushed away to his right by Marrs.

Maguire sliced wide then Harmison fired off target after a cross by Summerly.

RCA continued to defend in numbers and it always looked as if it would take something special to break them down.

And sure enough in the 80th minute, Harmison produced something out of the ordinary to level.

Dale found Maguire down the right and when the forward crossed into the danger zone, a clever back flick by Harmison beat Marrs and went into the back of the net.

Two minutes later, Briggs found Spooner whose shot was held by Marrs – but in the 93rd minute, a touch of class on the left wing by Dale saw his cross into the box headed gleefully home by Harmison for a deserved winner.


Ashington vs Crook Town

By Brian Bennett

Dean Briggs scored a hat-trick as Ashington produced a five star performance to brush Crook Town aside at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday.

On a sweltering hot day in Wansbeck – where referee Matthew Morton paused the game in the middle of both halves for the players to take much needed drinks onboard – the Colliers turned up their own form of heat on their Durham visitors.

Crook began the game in positive fashion but once Ashington scored the opener then added a quickfire second from the penalty spot, the result was never in doubt.

Indeed only a superb display by the visitors ‘keeper and skipper Ronan Makepeace kept the score line down to five.

As a result, Ian Skinner’s side maintained their 100 per cent record to go back to the top of the first division of the Ebac Northern League with four wins out of four and took their goals tally up to 16.

Crook had the first opportunity in the ninth minute. A run down the left by Ewan Forster saw him unleash a shot which was saved by the legs of home ‘keeper Kyle Hayes.

But Ashington hit back with gusto and on the quarter hour, Lee Mason found Craig Spooner whose 30 yarder – arrowing towards the top corner – was tipped away by Makepeace then from a short corner, Dan Maguire whipped the ball across the face of the goal.

Ashington continued to pour forward and after another effort from Spooner was held by Makepeace, the stopper was called into action shortly afterwards to deny Briggs.

Steven Johnson went close with a free-kick before Ashington – who had been knocking on the door – made their pressure count.

Andrew Cartwright had a shot repelled by Makepeace; Briggs cut inside and curled a right footer just wide but in the 35th minute, superb work by Cartwright saw him roll a pass inside to Briggs and the midfielder whipped his effort across Makepeace with the ball going in off the post.

Within a minute, Paul Robinson had a great chance to double the lead only to fluff his lines – but Ashington’s second was just around the corner.

Matthew Harrison handled a shot from Robinson and referee Morton immediately pointed to the spot.

Robbie Dale stepped up and although Makepeace went the right way, Dale’s penalty was perfectly executed.

Before half time, Briggs headed just wide but eight minutes into the second half, Mason made it 3-0.

Jordan Summerly found Maguire whose shot was blocked by Makepeace. The stopper also saved the follow up effort from Mason but when the striker got a second bite at the cherry, Mason made no mistake lifting the ball home with his right foot.

Mason had an effort touched over by Makepeace then Briggs ran across the box but saw his shot held by the custodian.

However, in the 78th minute, Adam Johnson swooped onto a clearance from Makepeace and when the substitute rolled the ball across the face of the goal, Briggs slotted home.

Ashington went nap in the third minute of time added on. Johnson provided a great cross from the right where Briggs – arriving unmarked at the far post – smashed the ball home on the volley.

Photographs: Ian Brodie

13 August 2022 - Ashington AFC v. Crook Town AFC


West Allotment Celtic vs Ashington

By Brian Bennett

Ashington went to the top of the first division of the Ebac Northern League on Tuesday night after a hard fought win against West Allotment Celtic at the East Palmersville Sports Pavilion.

Dan Maguire fired the Colliers into an early lead but Allotment deservedly drew level through Michael Baxter. However five minutes later, Craig Spooner netted what proved to be the winner.

It was a below par performance from the Wansbeck outfit – but they nevertheless strung together their third win of the season to maintain their 100 per cent record.

The home side – who worked tirelessly – saw a lot of the ball in the second period and could have equalised in the dying seconds through Scott McCarthy.

Ashington boss Ian Skinner made four changes from the side which won 3-2 against Newton Aycliffe in their epic Emirates FA Cup extra preliminary round tie on Saturday handing starts to goalkeeper Kyle Hayes, Damen Mullen, Darren Lough and Adam Johnson.

And it was Lough who was the provider of a defence splitting pass which led to Ashington’s opener after only two minutes.

Maguire timed his run to perfection to go past a defender before unleashing a left footer which went wide of ‘keeper Dan Gladstone and into the corner of the net.

But ironically, the goal acted as a spur for the home side and shortly afterwards, Hayes was forced to tip over an effort from Michael Baxter.

Scott McCarthy then fed the ball through for Mikel Thompson but Hayes intercepted at the vital second.

At the other end, good work by Maguire saw him carve out a chance for himself but his shot was held by Gladstone.

Allotment continued to pose a threat and Baxter had two good opportunities but blazed one shot over then put the other wide.

However after knocking on the door, it was Baxter who levelled in the 24th minute, side footing home after McCarthy had unselfishly squared the ball to him.

But Ashington’s riposte was to regain the lead within five minutes when Spooner stabbed the ball home inside the post after a cross from Robbie Dale.

Right on the stroke of half time there was a bizarre incident which almost resulted in a third goal for the visitors.

Johnson closed down ‘keeper Gladstone’s clearance and the ball bounced in the six yards box, hit the bar and ran away to safety.

Ten minutes into the second half, Thompson drove wide then play switched and Gladstone held from Johnson.

Chances were at a premium until in the 79th minute, Dean Briggs played the ball to Dale whose right footer was deflected wide of the far post.

Then in the fifth minute of time added on, Ashington breathed a huge sign of relief when the ball fell to McCarthy but he screwed his effort off target.


Ashington vs Northallerton Town

By Brian Bennett

Ashington had to grind out a result after a hard fought tussle against Northallerton Town in their Ebac Northern League first division match at Woodhorn Lane on Tuesday night.

Robbie Dale’s first goal in Ashington colours put the Colliers ahead but the North Yorkshire side drew level five minutes before the break through John Howard.

However, second half strikes from Karl Ross and Craig Spooner gave the Wansbeck outfit some much needed breathing space to see the game out.

Manager Ian Skinner had said after Saturday’s 6-0 hiding of Seaham Red Star that although it was a great start, supporters should not expect a similar scoreline with every match – and the boss’s comments were spot on after the visitors gave his side a far tougher test.

However, just like Saturday, Ashington dictated the pace and could have gone ahead as early as 70 seconds.

Lewis Suddick and Andrew Cartwright worked a short corner on the right and when the ball was played into the box, a vicious right foot volley by Dan Maguire was goalbound until it was brilliantly diverted away by ‘keeper Thomas Dawson.

The Colliers continued to pour forward and after Dean Briggs had been upended in the centre circle, they took the lead in the sixth minute when Dale and Maguire played a slick one-two before Dale stroked the ball inside the far corner.

Again Ashington totally dominated the opening half hour. Spooner hit the side netting then Maguire had a shot blocked.

But in the 18th minute, the home crowd were screaming for a penalty after Cartwright went to ground on the right hand side of the area but referee Richard Rowe was unmoved.

Three minutes later Briggs had an effort turned around by Dawson at the foot of the post

then seconds later, Briggs looked destined to add a second as he skipped past two challenges but saw his shot blocked and the follow up by Ross was deflected wide.

Ashington kept knocking on the door and on the half hour it was Dawson who came to his sides rescue as he saved from Lee Mason.

The action continued unabated. Two minutes later, John Howard ran through unchallenged but his tame shot was easily gathered by home ‘keeper Karl Dryden.

Within seconds, Mason netted but was flagged offside then Maguire fired narrowly wide of the upright.

Ashington pieced together their best move of the match in the 37th minute but it ended with Jordan Summerly skying the ball over then Yannick Aziakonou found Suddick who blazed wide.

The visitors had certainly come into the game and after Dryden had fielded a shot from Damian Giliga, they drew level after a neat move which ended with Howard’s left footed drive from the edge of the area beating Dryden inside his post.

On the stroke of half time, Briggs and Summerly combined to set up Suddick whose shot was held by Dawson.

In the 56th minute, Ashington regained the lead when Spooner slotted the ball through for Ross who finished neatly past Dawson.

Five minutes later, Northallerton served notice that they were not out of the contest as Michael Rae headed over from a free kick.

However, in the 70th minute, Ashington extended their lead following a corner on the right.

The ball fell to Spooner who advanced then blasted a right footer into the net with Dawson rooted to the spot.

After that it was all about game management for Ashington – which saw them home to record back to back wins.


Ashington vs Seaham Red Star

By Brian Bennett

Ashington began the new season in emphatic style as they went on a goal scoring spree against Seaham Red Star at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday.

Victory alone would have been a dream start for manager Ian Skinner – but the boss must have been purring at some of the football his side conjured up as they totally blew away the visitors, dominating the game from start to finish.

The final score was 6-0 but the Colliers could – and should – have recorded double figures without question.

Newcomers Lee Mason and Dan Maguire – the former who hit a brace – both opened their accounts whilst Lewis Suddick fired a double and although it was the opening day of the Ebac Northern League campaign, Craig Spooner surely put his name into the hat for a goal of the season contender after a stunning strike on the hour.

Ashington were all over Seaham from the first whistle. Inside 70 seconds, they ought to have gone in front when Maguire laid the ball off sideways to Dean Briggs. His shot was repelled by ‘keeper Andrew Jennison who also thwarted Suddick from the rebound.

In the fifth minute, more work by Maguire saw him again set up Briggs but the midfielder’s effort saved by Jennison.

However, four minutes later, Lee Mason broke the deadlock. Briggs and Karl Ross combined down the right and when Andrew Cartwright delivered a superb cross into the danger zone, Mason delicately side footed the ball from seven yards wide of Jennison and in off the post.

Spooner then played a one-two with Jordan Summerly and saw his right footer held by Jennison before the visitors had there first opportunity when Thomas Lawson swung the ball over from the right but Mark Robinson blazed over.

After that, it was bang, bang, bang from Skinner’s side with the pressure unrelenting.

Briggs fired just wide from 20 yards; Maguire moved across from right to left and when he slotted the ball through for Briggs, the number ten saw his shot deflected wide.

Briggs again went close from the edge of the box – but sixty seconds later, Suddick added Ashington’s second.

Briggs was the provider and Suddick remained cool as a cucumber as he neatly turned his marker close to the by line then whipped a low right footer past Jennison.

In the 35th minute, it was 3-0 with the same two Ashington players at the hub of the move. Briggs won possession and laid the ball off to the right for Suddick who made no mistake.

There was no respite for the visitors and after a free kick from distance by Suddick was held by Jennison, Maguire fired an effort narrowly over.

Ashington began the second period in identical fashion to the first and in the 49th minute, moved into a 4-0 lead.

The goal began with nonchalant but excellent work by Robbie Dale. Dale found Cartwright on the right flank who clipped the ball forward to put Maguire through and the centre forward lobbed over Jennison as the ‘keeper advanced.

Mason added the fifth in the 54th minute. Briggs floated a free kick from the left and Mason applied a clinical side foot finish after arriving at the back post.

Briggs must have thought he had scored after substitute Adam Johnson put him clear but the over worked Jennison saved with his legs.

However thirty seconds later, Spooner scored the goal of the game after Ashington had worked a short flag kick on the left. The midfielder let fly with a terrific right footer from the corner of the penalty area which screamed past Jennison and inside the stanchion.

With quarter of an hour remaining, Johnson cut inside from the right and his left foot effort was arrowing towards the top corner before Jennison tipped it over in brilliant fashion to deny him.

And the non-stop action from the Colliers continued until the final whistle.

Substitute Paul Robinson was foiled by Jennison who saved with his feet then sub Jordan Lashley rounded the stopper but his goalbound shot was cleared off the line by the retrieving Daryll Donnelly.

The last attack saw a great ball from Dale find Lashley but he was also denied by the Jennison.