League: Northern League - Division 1

Consett vs Ashington

By Brian Bennett

Dean Briggs surely scored Ashington’s ‘goal of the season’ in an eight goal thriller against Consett at Belle Vue – with an outrageous strike seconds before the half time whistle.

Two nil ahead just past the quarter hour mark and 4-2 up early in the second period, the Colliers eventually had to settle for a share of the spoils. Over the 90 minutes it was probably the right outcome – but it was Briggs who provided the main talking point of a game which was littered with chances throughout.

His moment to savour arrived in the third minute of time added on for stoppages when just inside the Consett half, he looked up, spotted home ‘keeper Kyle Hayes off his line and promptly clipped the ball over the stopper and into the net.

That goal saw Briggs’s side take a 3-2 lead at half time – and Consett must be pleased that they haven’t got to face the midfielder turned striker any more this season.

Briggs netted twice in midweek – his second which provided the knockout punch – as Ashington won an epic semi final clash against Consett in the Ebac Northern League Division One Cup and it was Briggs who the Steelmen found too hot to handle on a warm sunny afternoon, in Saturday’s encounter.

The teams have served up plenty of thrills and spills in their three meetings this term with a 3-3 draw at Woodhorn Lane followed by Ashington’s 4-3 cup semi final win and this exciting eight goal feast.

And literally both sides could have struck up double figures on Saturday. After only two minutes, Consett went close with Colin Larkin’s glancing header going just wide then an effort by Scott Heslop shaved the post. Seconds later, an almighty scramble took place inside the Ashington box, including a save from ‘keeper Adam McHugh before the ball was eventually cleared.

However, Ashington’s response was to hit Consett with two goals in three minutes.

The first arrived when Briggs capitalised on hesitancy in the home rearguard to chip the ball over the advancing Hayes then Lewis Suddick blasted home from seven yards after Jordan Summerly’s shot had been blocked by the home ‘keeper.

But three minutes later, Heslop headed in at the far post to reduce the arrears then ex Collier Pearson levelled matters in the 33rd taking the ball down and rifling a left footer past McHugh.

Carl Lawson went close at one end then Briggs escaped his marker down the left and his shot saw Hayes get the slightest of touches to deflect it past the upright.

Lewis Green smacked a shot against the bar before that sublime goal from Briggs arrived seconds from half time.

Seven minutes into the second period, Ashington went into a 4-2 lead with a brilliantly worked goal. Ben Sampson’s defence splitting pass found the overlapping Doyle in the area and when Hayes went to close Doyle down, the full back squared the ball for Suddick to hammer into an empty net.

Both ‘keepers made saves before Briggs was through in the 65th minute but his side footed effort rolled agonisingly wide of Hayes’s right hand post.

Minutes later, a free kick by Jake Orrell smacked against the bar and Green’s shot from the rebound was turned around by McHugh.

However in the 70th minute following a throw in on the left, Calvin Smith got the final touch to make it 3-4.

Paul Robinson flashed a drive just over then Green weaved in and out before his effort was held by McHugh.

Six minutes from time, Orrell equalised for the home side with an excellent right footed free kick from 25 yards and the non stop action continued to the final whistle.

In the 87th minute, Ashington had Curtis Coppen sent to the sin bin by referee Helen Conley then in the closing stages, Hayes denied substitute Jordan Lashley and Sampson before Doyle rifled just wide then a break by Lashley saw him find the unmarked Spooner but he trod on the ball at the vital time and the chance evaporated.

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Ashington vs Thornaby

By Brian Bennett

A goal just past the hour mark by substitute Jamie Davis clinched Thornaby all three points from this Ebac Northern League first division encounter at The dwmedia Stadium on Saturday.

Davis – who was introduced for the start of the second half – received a sidewards pass from Craig Hutchinson before burying a right foot effort past home ‘keeper Adam McHugh.

However the goal lit the touch paper as the clash developed into a feisty affair after what had previously been a very ordinary end of season contest.

Two minutes after Davis had struck, Ben Sampson found Dean Briggs down the left flank and after cutting inside, the midfielder’s shot from a tight angle was held at the post by ‘keeper Quinaceo Hunt.

When play switched, Thornaby’s Craig Hutchinson was clean through with only McHugh to beat but his shot was beaten away by the stopper.

Ashington manager Ian Skinner brought on the pacy Jordan Lashley for Yannick Aziakonou but Lashley had only been on the field four minutes when he went down the right wing only to be sent sprawling by a late tackle from Nathan Guru.

Referee Darren Williams consulted with his assistant before brandishing a red card to the Teessiders defender.

However for the remainder of the game Ashington failed to make the extra man count and only carved out a minimum of opportunities.

Sampson was again the provider finding Briggs who cut along the by-line but saw his shot came back off the post.

Craig Spooner struck a free-kick from 30 yards which was spilled by Hunt but the ‘keeper pounced to grab the rebound just ahead of Ben Harmison.

A deep cross by Briggs saw Spooner just miss out at the far post and in stoppage time an effort from Liam Doyle was held by Hunt.

Then in the fifth minute of time added on, Elliott Beddow had a shot pushed over by McHugh.

In the first period, Ashington had made inroads from kick off as Briggs found Spooner down the flank but the number seven’s cross was too high for his team mates in the penalty area.

Spooner produced an instinctive piece of skill when he flicked the ball over his head to go past a defender but dragged a right footer wide from the edge of the area.

In a rare raid by the visitors, Joe Pickett stroked past the upright but even though Ashington were sloppy in possession they still fashioned four chances.

Sampson had two opportunities, driving the first from distance but straight into Hunt’s midriff and after a patient build up, placing a right foot shot wide.

Hunt saved with his legs to deny Doyle then shortly before half time, Doyle crossed but Spooner spurned a great opening, firing over from eight yards.

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Billingham Town vs Ashington

By Brian Bennett

Ashington’s levels of performance which has been so unpredictable over the past few weeks continued on Saturday when they had the game in the palm of their hands against basement side Billingham Town but contrived to press the self destruct button and ended up sharing the spoils.

The Colliers held an early 2-0 lead on Teesside but five minutes into the second found themselves trailing 3-2. Substitute Jordan Lashley equalised and in the closing stages whilst Ashington could have won the contest, equally they could have lost it as well.

Ian Skinner’s side made an electrifying start with two well crafted goals in the opening ten minutes. The first arrived in the sixth minute when Ben Sampson played the ball into the danger zone for Jamie Hanson who steered a right footer past ‘keeper Jack Norton from six yards.

The second was almost a carbon copy of the first. Again the build up came down the right only on this occasion Max Cowburn whipped over a cross and after Hanson’s shot had been blocked by Norton, Luke Salmon hammered home the rebound.

It could have been three in the 19th minute when Sampson and Lewis Suddick combined but when the latter put the ball into the area, Hanson’s header was fractionally wide of the far post.

However, midway through the period, Billingham halved the deficit. Oliver Cann chipped the ball into the middle from near the by line for the unmarked Terry Stephenson to head home.

A significant turning point came in the next minute. Karl Ross found Cowburn and when he centred, Hanson – on the stretch – saw his effort come back into play after hitting the base of the post.

Five minutes later, the scores were level. Salmon’s back-heel in the area was punished to the full as Daniel Boyle fired wide of Adam McHugh and inside the upright.

And in the second minute of stoppage time, Andrew Nelson spurned a marvellous opportunity to put the hosts ahead after wriggling free of the visitors defence to be clean through but McHugh came to Ashington’s rescue clutching the full back’s left footer.

Billingham started the second half the brighter of the two outfits and in the 50th minute, they got their noses in front after a free-kick from the right was knocked over to the far side of the area. When it was played back into the centre, Cann fired home.

Ashington appealed for a foul on Ben Harmison, and were reduced to ten men when Curtis Coppen was sin binned for ten minutes but on the hour mark, Cowburn raided down the flank and his cross found Suddick whose effort went wide of Norton only to smack against the woodwork.

McHugh was called into the action on 65 minutes pushing out a shot from substitute Ashley Lavan before the Colliers had a string of opportunities to draw level.

A free-kick by Suddick was narrowly missed at the back post by the inrushing Sampson then following another Suddick restart, Ross lifted the ball over.

Ashington introduced Tom Bramley pushing Harmison up front and ten minutes from time the visiting skipper failed to get a proper connection onto a long searching cross from the right by Liam Doyle.

Jordan Lashley – whose four goals after coming on as a sub changed the outcome of the result at Redcar – replaced the injured Hanson and came up trumps in the 83rd minute.

Coppen’s long ball forward was played into Lashley’s path by Harmison and the substitute made no mistake with an emphatic left footed finish from 14 yards wide of Norton.

It was game-on for the closing stages. Lashley was clean through with only Norton to beat but got no height on his attempted chip over the advanced Norton who was grateful to pouch.

A ball played in by Suddick hit the bar and was cleared to safety then the midfielder was just off target with a free kick from 20 yards.

At the other end, Cameron Painter’s shot in the third minute of five which was added on, was shifted from inside the six yards box by Coppen and with virtually the last kick of the game, Salmon got back to prevent a Billingham winner as he made make a brilliant goal-line clearance.

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Ashington vs Newton Aycliffe

By Brian Bennett

Two goals in the first half from striker Liam Jarvie condemned Ashington to a fourth consecutive league defeat – and third in a row on their home ground – as Newton Aycliffe became the latest outfit to leave Woodhorn Lane with easy pickings on Saturday.

Until recently, the Colliers had been having a decent season and at one stage they were even one win away from being second top of the first division of the Ebac Northern League. However they had also leaked far too many goals on their travels as they conceded five at West Auckland, Thornaby and Whickham and four at Crook Town.

Now their home record has come under scrutiny – and when Ian Skinner’s side go to face basement side Billingham Town on Saturday (April 2), they’ll be glad to see the back of March.

The Wansbeck side had suffered only three defeats on home soil all season in 15 outings – until this month when Seaham Red Star, Guisborough Town and Newton Aycliffe have all claimed maximum points.

However, the recurring theme is that Ashington not only give goals away – they gift wrap them as well – and such was the case on a beautiful spring day at The dwmedia Stadium on Saturday.

There was little to choose between the two sides early doors in what was a very cagey opening – until the tenth minute when the Colliers allowed Jarvie to charge through the middle and plant a right footer from the edge of the area, wide of ‘keeper Adam McHugh.

On the quarter hour, Aycliffe ‘keeper Adam Pickford touched over a goalbound free-kick from 25 yards by Max Cowburn then skipper Ben Harmison played the ball sideways for Danny Anderson to drive wide.

Jordan Lashley, Dean Briggs and Cowburn then combined but the latter directed his effort over the bar.

On what was National non-league day, the game was flat and lack lustre with no real tempo to it – but two minutes before the interval, the visitors doubled their advantage.

Anderson was caught in possession and although the midfielder chased back to make a tackle on Jarvie in the area, he was penalised for a foul with Jarvie sending McHugh the wrong way from the resultant spot kick.

Within the opening minute of the second period, Lashley fired off target from distance then Briggs released Ben Sampson who scooped the ball wide.

There was more intensity from the home side but another promising move fizzled out after Liam Doyle and Anderson had played a one-two with the full back over running the ball.

However in the 65th minute, a key turning point arrived when Briggs missed a sitter to reduce the arrears. He seized on a back-pass and side stepped the advancing Pickford but with an open goal at his mercy, under hit his effort which allowed Aycliffe skipper Aaron Brown to clear the ball off the line.

Pre match Skinner had been boosted with Sampson and Tom Bramley both declaring themselves fit – the latter after being side lined for over six months – and midway through the half, Skinner rolled the dice by throwing Bramley into the fray at centre back and pushing Harmison up front.

The move paid dividends with Harmison giving Ashington a presence up front and causing problems for the visiting back four.

And in the 81st minute, it was Harmison who halved the deficit firing home after Jamie Hanson had unselfishly pulled the ball back.

Referee Graeme Hopper remained unmoved after the Colliers had three separate shouts for a penalty – two for handball and the other for a foul on Hanson – then in the fifth minute of time added on, McHugh pushed the ball out to deny Andrei-Vasile Ardelean.

Photo Gallery: Ian Brodie

26 March 2022 - Ashington AFC v. Newton Aycliffe FC

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Ashington vs Guisborough Town

By Brian Bennett

Striker Cole Kiernan netted a hat-trick as Guisborough hit Ashington for six at The dwmedia Stadium on Saturday.

At the same time, the Colliers picked up an unwanted treble of their own – a third consecutive league defeat – in what was a mistake ridden as well as an abject performance in front of their own fans.

The reverse was Ashington’s heaviest home defeat since October 2020 when they went down 6-1 against Hebburn Town in a season which was later curtailed.

Ian Skinner’s side went into the contest fielding a makeshift back four with Yannick Aziakonou and new signing Owen Gourley in the centre of defence.

Apart from a win at Thornaby in the Division One Cup, the Wansbeck outfit have recently nosedived in form but after they made a decent start on Saturday, no-one saw this level of performance or scoreline coming.

Early doors, Guisborough’s Ben Jackson cut inside and his rasping drive was fisted away by home ‘keeper Karl Dryden.

Ashington responded with a delicate flick by Bobby Taylor finding Liam Doyle down the right flank but his cross was intercepted.

Two minutes later Lewis Suddick and Taylor combined on the counter but when the latter centred, Craig Spooner missed his connection.

Again a good move started off by Gourley’s free-kick and also involving Danny Anderson, Paul Robinson and Jordan Summerly ended with a disappointing cross.

Midway through the period, came a key turning point. Anderson and Robinson worked a short corner on the left and when the former laid the ball off square, Spooner’s fizzing 20 yarder was repelled by ‘keeper Robert Dean.

Two minutes later and Ashington were on their slippery slope. They failed to deal with a long ball played forward with Louis Johnson sweeping a right footer wide of Dryden from 12 yards.

Nicholas Hood placed a header a yard past the upright before Kiernan got the first of his treble on the half hour. Dryden and Summerly got into a mix up and when Johnson nipped in, he pulled the ball back for Kiernan who slotted home.

The Colliers had a great chance to reduce the arrears minutes later. Dean Briggs found Suddick through the middle but he toe poked the ball straight at Dean.

Five minutes after the break, another chance went begging as Briggs delivered a cross from the right but Suddick’s header was directed straight at Dean.

In the 51st minute, the game was effectively over after the home side had lost possession. Johnson whipped the ball across for Kiernan to hammer in.

On the hour, both sides were reduced to ten men. Ashington’s Robinson was red carded after a tackle on the half way line and in the aftermath, Keelan Wright-Simpson – who had been booked just prior to the interval – was shown a second yellow.

Ten minutes after being introduced, Guisborough sub Sam Webster’s effort from the edge of the box went across Dryden and inside the top corner to make it 4-0.

Ashington pulled a goal back on 65 minutes when sub Jordan Lashley slotted the ball through for Suddick who was sent sprawling inside the area.

Referee Zac Kennard-Kettle pointed to the spot and Suddick sent Dean the wrong way.

But minutes later, the Priorymen restored their four goals advantage when Karl Ross fouled Johnson in the box and Kiernan completed his hat-trick from the resultant penalty.

And things went from bad to worse five minutes from time when Webster got his second squirming a low left footer from 20 yards through the narrowest of gaps between Dryden and his post.

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Ashington vs Seaham Red Star

By Brian Bennett

Jordan Lashley’s stoppage time strike came too late for a ten man Ashington side to salvage anything from their Ebac Northern League first division clash against Seaham Red Star at The dwmedia Stadium on Saturday.

After turning in their worst display of the season the previous weekend which culminated in a 4-2 defeat at Northallerton, Ian Skinner’s side responded superbly in midweek at Thornaby with a solitary goal by Luke Salmon booking them a quarter final place in the First division Cup.

However, playing at home for the first time in three weeks, Ashington’s performance plummeted again with boss Skinner later labelling the display as ‘frustrating.’

The Colliers were caught cold and consequently left chasing the game in the opening phase of the contest as two goals inside the first seven minutes from Danny Sayer put the Star firmly in control of proceedings.

His first came in the fifth minute when Seaham forced a corner on the left and when the ball was swung in, it was flicked on to Sayer who headed home at the back post from close range.

Two minutes later, a sweeping counter attacking move resulted in the second as the ball was switched out to the left where the over lapping Sayer slotted his effort across home ‘keeper Karl Dryden and inside the far corner.

Ashington’s first threat came in the 11th minute when a long ball from Danny Anderson aimed for Luke Salmon saw Seaham ‘keeper Andrew Jennison get there first to punch out.

Things could have got worse for the home side too as Thomas Bott stroked wide following a free-kick and after Ashington’s Curtis Coppen had been sent to the sin bin for ten minutes, Louis Robinson had the ball in the net but was flagged offside.

The Colliers showed signs of improvement after the break and substitute Craig Spooner played the ball through to Dean Briggs who lobbed narrowly over the advancing Jennison from the edge of the area.

A cross from Ashington’s Anderson clipped the bar but chances were few and far between.

Sayer fired over following a corner on the right then just past the hour mark, Seaham striker Adam Lennox was sin binned.

With quarter of an hour remaining of normal time left, Ashington’s afternoon went from bad to worse when having used all three substitutes, they were forced to play out the remaining time with ten men when Adam Johnson was forced off through injury.

However, in stoppage time, they halved the deficit when skipper Ben Harmison – pushed up front as a striker – glanced on for Lashley who hammered the ball in left footed from 18 yards.

The goal was too little too late and the result saw the Star complete a league double over the Colliers after recording a 2-1 victory at Seaham Town Park in October.

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Northallerton Town vs Ashington

By Brian Bennett

Ashington turned in their worst performance of the season on Saturday when they were toppled by Ebac Northern League first division strugglers Northallerton Town at The Calvert Stadium.

What’s more the North Yorkshire outfit – fighting for first division survival – deserved their victory albeit in a match which was sub standard as it failed to sparkle and provided little in the way of entertainment for the crowd of 102.

Indeed the only piece of quality came in the latter stages when Shaun Ryder scored a ‘worldly’ for his sides third goal after unleashing a rocket from distance which left Colliers ‘keeper Adam McHugh helpless.

The result – as well as the display – brought third placed Ashington back down to earth with a massive bump following Wednesday’s 4-1 win against Redcar Athletic whilst despite claiming the three points, ‘Allerton remain in the bottom three after securing what was only their second home success of the season.

Ashington started brightly with Jordan Summerly finding Bobby Taylor whose low drive from 20 yards was held by ‘keeper Aleks Petrovic and later in the half Thomas Kalthoeber’s pass to Jordan Lashley saw the striker lay the ball off to Lewis Suddick who shot wide of the upright.

Suddick was also involved as he played the ball across the face of the goal with no team-mate on hand to apply the finishing touch and on the half hour, a centre by Max Cowburn was side footed wide by Taylor.

However, those incidents were spasmodic flashes during a half where the Colliers lacked in fluency and urgency.

Northallerton – who also produced little of note other than a shot by Dale Hopson which was touched around by McHugh – got their noses in front in the 39th minute following a cross from the right.

The ball fell to Joseph Hope who drove low across McHugh and into the far corner.

At the start of the second half, the visitors made inroads with Lashley and Taylor combining to set up Summerly whose cross was deflected behind for a corner then Lashley headed over following a free-kick.

Ashington’s slight improvement subsided and after a sizzling right footed drive from 22 yards by ‘Allerton’s Sean Chidanyika had flashed narrowly over, Michael Rae doubled their lead in the 75th minute, heading in from Hopson’s free-kick on the right.

But four minutes later, the game was back in the melting pot as Adam Johnson pulled one back.

Midway through the period, Colliers boss Ian Skinner had again made a triple substitution withdrawing Yannick Aziakonou, Cowburn and Taylor and introducing Paul Robinson, Johnson and Dean Briggs.

And following a through ball by skipper Ben Harmison, Briggs was involved as he set up Johnson who side footed home from close range.

However within two minutes, Ashington’s hopes of a comeback were dashed when Ryder restored Northallerton’s two goals lead.

The midfielder caught the ball perfectly with a right footer from just outside the box which flew past McHugh before crossing the line and hitting the back stanchion.

And in the 83rd minute Ashington’s day of misery got even worse as they lost possession in their opponents half. Northallerton hit them on the counter with substitute Luke Jones side footing the ball home after receiving a cross from the left.

In the fourth minute of stoppage time and with virtually the last kick of the match, Johnson found Suddick who tapped the ball home for Ashington’s second – but this was clearly an afternoon to forget for the side from Wansbeck.

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Redcar Athletic vs Ashington

By Brian Bennett

Talk about making an impact! Ashington’s Jordan Lashley came off the bench to hit an emphatic four goal salvo as the Colliers were forced to come from behind before picking up three merited points against Redcar Athletic at the BM Bi Folding Doors Stadium on Wednesday night.

The win took Ian Skinner’s side up to third top of the Ebac Northern League’s first division table but midway through the first period, they found themselves trailing after being caught on the counter attack with Redcar netting through Owen Clarkson.

Nevertheless, there had been little to enthuse about for the first 65 minutes of this contest – until Ashington manager Ian Skinner made a triple substitution with Lashley, Max Cowburn and Bobby Taylor replacing Ben Sampson, Adam Johnson and Luke Salmon.

Two minutes later, Dean Briggs and sub Max Cowburn combined to set up Lashley who gave ‘keeper Matthew Bateman no chance as he squeezed a left footer from the edge of the area just inside the post.

Going all out for a winner, the Colliers were almost undone and Liam Doyle made an important last ditch tackle to snuff out a promising attack by home sub Isaac Walker.

Then for the final ten minutes, the game centred around the unstoppable Lashley.

Lewis Suddick made a surging run but with only Bateman to beat saw his shot came back off the post. However Lashley was on hand to smash home the rebound to put the Colliers in front.

And with time running out, Doyle and Cowburn linked to play the ball to Lashley who curled a delightful low effort with his left foot inside the far post to complete his hat-trick.

But there was still more to come and in the second minute of time added on, Lashley ran from just inside his own half, beat a defender then drilled the ball home wide of a helpless Bateman.

With virtually the last kick of the match, ‘keeper Adam McHugh was called upon to save from Nicky Martin before the final whistle came which cemented back to back wins for the Colliers.

Ashington – who had lost at home to the Steelmen on the last day of August – called the tune in what was a fast flowing encounter but it was the 12th minute before they threatened the Redcar goal when a whipped low cross by Luke Salmon just eluded Briggs sliding in at the far post.

Briggs fired over following a corner on the right by Suddick then on the half hour, Thomas Kalthoeber threaded the ball through for Salmon who teed himself up but smashed a volley over from the edge of the box.

Within a minute, the Colliers found themselves 1-0 down after Bateman took the resulting goal kick and Clarkson lobbed a right footer which dipped viciously over McHugh and dropped into the net via the crossbar.

Briggs drove wide after receiving a cross field pass from skipper Ben Harmison then Bateman made a stunning save at the foot of the post to deny Adam Johnson.

Early in the second half, Salmon hit the post with a snap shot before on the hour, Bateman made two fine saves to thwart Suddick and Johnson.

Skinner then changed three personnel – and Redcar were simply stunned by a quadruple blast from Lashley.

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Newcastle Benfield vs Ashington

By Brian Bennett

There was double joy for Ashington as they wrapped up a comfortable victory over Newcastle Benfield at Sam Smiths Park on Saturday.

Goals in the first half from Karl Ross and Lewis Suddick put the Colliers in control and when Luke Salmon added a third within the opening quarter hour of the second period, the game was effectively in the bag.

The sides are now level pegging at 2-2 after playing each other no fewer than four times during the campaign with the Wansbeck side claiming a league double whilst the Lions won both contests in their Carlsberg FA Cup and Buildbase FA Vase clashes.

But the margin of victory also brought a highly impressive statistic as Ian Skinner’s side went to the top of the Ebac Northern League’s first division scoring charts after taking their goals tally to 74 and leapfrogging Consett.

Over the years, matches between Ashington and Benfield have usually been tight cagey affairs but in a first period which was flat and low key, it was the Wansbeck side who dominated possession and even more so after Ross then Suddick had found the net in quick succession.

They came close to making a dream start too when Adam Johnson had the ball in the net in the fifth minute but his celebrations were cut short as the assistant raised his flag for offside.

Joe Robson lifted over Benfield’s first opportunity then Aidan Haley had a shot turned aside by ‘keeper Adam McHugh.

Ben Sampson drove over on the half volley following a corner on the left but in the 23rd minute, the Colliers got their noses in front after a well constructed move down the right flank.

Suddick flicked the ball over the top of the defender to the over lapping Liam Doyle and when the full back pulled it back to the edge of the area, Johnson teed up Ross who blasted home right footed.

Similarly ten minutes later it was a lovely ball across by Salmon which caused problems in the home rearguard and after the ball had glanced off a defender, Suddick got the final touch to force it home for his fourth goal in six matches.

Early in the second period, Sampson found Dean Briggs whose effort from 25 yards was parried by Benfield’s long serving ‘keeper Andrew Grainger.

However in the 57th minute, Salmon got his sides third. Suddick’s free kick into the area led to a scramble and when Harmison flicked the ball forward, there was hesitation in the Benfield defence which allowed Salmon to prod home.

Ashington continued to show plenty of endeavour and Grainger was brought into the action again on 64 minutes when he repelled a shot from full back Jordan Summerly.

Minutes later McHugh pushed the ball around from an effort by home substitute Mackenzie Sharpe and Benfield’s day was summed up ten minutes from time when ex Ashington striker Ryan McGorrigan pounced on an error which put him clean through but fired a tame shot straight at McHugh.

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Ashington vs Bishop Auckland

By Brian Bennett

Ashington’s home form came up trumps again as two goals in four minutes from Bobby Taylor and Lewis Suddick during the second half saw the Colliers deservedly pick up three points against Bishop Auckland at The dwmedia Stadium on Saturday.

Before the start of the campaign, manager Ian Skinner had challenged his players to turn Woodhorn Lane into a fortress – and after being forced to do things the hard way after going behind to a wonder strike shortly after the interval by Bishops Auckland’s Matty Waters, the Wansbeck outfit hit back in fine style.

The quickfire double by Taylor and Suddick was just the tonic they needed too following the disappointment of a 5-3 reverse the previous week at Whickham and spurred on by the encouragement and noise generated by their supporters in a crowd which swelled just over the 400 mark, they recorded their 11th victory on home turf from 15 league outings.

Ashington had had a convincing 5-2 win over the Bishops in mid September but since then, the Heritage Park outfit have brought in former Guisborough Town and Whitby Town boss Chris Hardy as manager who has changed their fortunes and they went into this showdown unbeaten in four outings.

On a sticky surface, there was little in the way of free flowing football in the opening half.

But it was Ashington who went close in the eighth minute when Taylor – one of six changes in the side – struck a right footer just over after good work by Thomas Kalthoeber and Craig Spooner.

What was to emerge as the move of the period arrived a few minutes later when the home side worked the ball neatly through the midfield but Kalthoeber’s pass for Adam Johnson had too much weight on it and the ball ran out for a goal kick.

A dangerous looking cross by Bishops left back Liam Miller was headed away to safety by Luke Salmon then a patient build up by the Colliers saw a goalbound effort from Johnson tipped away for a corner by ‘keeper Nicky Liversedge.

Salmon, Kalthoeber and Suddick linked to set up Johnson but his cross was blocked then play switched to the other end and a promising run by Marcus Giles was halted when Curtis Coppen made a brilliant tackle inside the area.

Suddick fired narrowly wide from distance with Liversedge rooted to the spot and the last action of the half came when Kalthoeber – who had been heavily involved down the right flank – shot well wide after a corner on the right.

Ashington were rocked at the start of the second half as the visitors went in front – after only 18 seconds.

Coppen won a header but the ball bounced off Waters and fell perfectly for the striker who unleashed a dipping half volley from 20 yards wide of ‘keeper Adam McHugh and just inside the far post.

As Ashington looked for a response, Kalthoeber was again in the thick of the action and after showing some skill inside the Bishops penalty area where he clipped the ball over the head of a defender, he drove wide of the far post.

However the Wansbeck side turned the game on its head with two well crafted goals in quick succession.

The equaliser arrived in the 64th minute as Kalthoeber’s throw-in on the right went over the top of a defender and after work by Johnson , the centre forward rolled the ball across for Taylor who with the outside of his foot, steered the ball wide of Liversedge and inside the post.

Kalthoeber was also involved in the goal which put Ashington ahead and which proved to be the winner as he advanced into the area and laid the ball off for Suddick who instinctively swept home with the inside of his foot into the far corner.

Liversedge pushed the ball aside to deny Spooner then seconds after being introduced as a substitute, Dean Briggs had a glorious chance to give his side a two goals cushion.

Johnson played the ball across but Briggs stroked it wide with only the ‘keeper to beat.

Briggs went close with a left footer flashing just wide then ten minutes from time the home side survived a scramble following a cross from the left by Miller. McHugh was forced to make a superb save before Yannick Aziakonou cleared the ball off the line.

Liversedge thwarted Briggs again but despite the aforementioned late scare, the final whistle brought a welcome and merited victory for the Colliers.

19 February 2022 - Ashington AFC v. Bishop Auckland AFC

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