League: Northern Premier League - East Division

Ashington vs Dunston

By Brian Bennett

Three crackling goals – two from Paul Van-Zandvliet on his home debut and a trademark free kick from Craig Spooner – secured Ashington their first home win of the season in a match which was full of incident against Dunston UTS on Saturday.

In total, the contest lasted 102 minutes and supporters witnessed another first at Woodhorn Lane as referee Scott Henry dished out no fewer than 12 yellow cards – six to each side – as well as two reds.

For the second game in a row, the Colliers finished the clash with nine men after Simon Yakab and skipper Nathan Buddle were both sent off in the 64th minute – the former for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity whilst Buddle – already on a yellow – got his marching orders for dissent.

Nevertheless, Ashington were full value for their success. In what was a good game of football and never a feisty or dirty encounter as the card count suggests, they were 3-1 ahead before the red mist descended then defended manfully for the remainder of the game and showed more than a hint of a threat on the break.

A Wansbeck side that went into the game on the back of four consecutive defeats as well as failing to score in all those encounters came out of the traps looking sharp and immediately put pressure onto the Dunston defence.

Buddle lashed over; Spooner had a drive held by ‘keeper Dan Staples; Ben Sampson chipped over from 35 yards and Oli Thompson played Jordan Summerly in but he was foiled by a superb tackle by Jack Walker.

However the pressure paid off in the ninth minute. Jakab found Matty Dopson who played the ball through for Van-Zandvliet and the midfielder fired home right footed from just inside the area.

Dunston grew into the contest and on the break – after Ashington had lost possession – a shot from David Robinson was taken at the foot of the post by home ‘keeper Karl Dryden.

Thompson had a shot blocked just past the half hour mark following a corner on the left by Spooner then Jakab fired over after being set up by Summerly.

Dunston drew level in the 36th minute. Sado Djalo passed inside to Robinson who advanced down the right flank and when he crossed, Jordan Lamb hammered the ball home at the far post.

Within a minute, the visitors had a chance to go ahead when Djalo was through but his effort was superbly blocked by Dryden then when play switched to the other end, Spooner had a 20 yarder pushed away by Staples to his right.

At the beginning of the second half, Ashington took the game to their visitors as they had done in the first – and they scored two spectacular goals from Spooner and Van-Zandvliet in a little over five minutes.

The first in the 48th minute was created by a ball played by Darren Lough which saw Scott Heslop charge towards the area before he was upended.

Spooner took the resultant free-kick 20 yards out and curled the ball expertly around the defensive wall and into the roof of the net.

Heslop headed narrowly over from a Spooner corner before Sampson teed the ball up for Van-Zandvliet who scored a screamer from distance arcing his effort into the top corner which left Staples helpless.

Then came the double sending off as Yakab saw red for impeding Lamb midway inside the Ashington half and within seconds he was followed to the dressing room by Buddle.

Midway through the period, Dryden made a crucial save diving to his right to divert a free-kick by Luke Carr and the same player had a golden opportunity but fired wide of the upright.

In the 82nd minute, a header from Dunston substitute Jack Maskell struck the post then in an Ashington raid, Staples pushed out an effort from Ross and Kneeshaw netted but the goal was ruled out for offside.

Home supporters were already drained and exhausted when the board went up to indicate a minimum of ten added minutes – but the only scare Ashington had to survive saw Dryden push around a right footer from sub Liam Thear.


Newton Aycliffe vs Ashington

By Brian Bennett

Ashington moved a place nearer the foot of the Northern Premier League’s East Division after a 2-0 defeat against Newton Aycliffe at Moore Lane on Tuesday night.

The result saw the home side – who were on the bottom of the table before kick off – leapfrog over the Colliers who consequently slipped to fourth bottom.

It was a night to forget for the Wansbeck outfit as apart from the reverse, they were forced to play the final 35 minutes with nine men.

Already trailing by a two goals deficit, the red mist descended in stoppage time in the first half and early in the second period when Charlie Exley and Karl Ross both received their marching orders.

The first chance of a game – billed as a six pointer – arrived in the 11th minute when Jake Petitjean headed over a cross from the left.

When play switched to the other end, Dan Maguire twisted and turned outside the area before his left footer was saved at the second attempt by Aycliffe ‘keeper Daniel Cameron then a good move by the Colliers ended with a shot by Oli Thompson also held by the home stopper.

Jack Raper had a drive deflected narrowly wide but on the half hour, Ashington ‘keeper Karl Dryden – making his 350th appearance – denied Petitjean with a sprawling save in front of goal.

However two minutes later, the home side broke the deadlock as Petitjean latched onto a through ball to stab wide of the advancing Dryden with the outside of his foot.

A swift one-two between Wilson Kneeshaw and Paul Van-Zandvliet looked promising until a cross from the latter was intercepted.

In the 39th minute Davis was thwarted by the brilliance of Dryden.

The striker met a cross flush on the volley and his effort was goalbound until Dryden dived to his left to palm it around for a corner.

A shot by Van-Zandvliet was saved at the foot of the post by Cameron but sixty seconds later, Aycliffe doubled their advantage when Liam Adamson played the ball into Davis who fired wide of Dryden.

In the third minute of time added on, Exley – already on a yellow – committed a foul on the touchline which saw him sent off for the second time in four days following his dismissal at Dunston at the weekend.

Early doors after the interval, Heslop went close with a free kick from 25 yards before Ross went for an early bath after he too picked up a second yellow as he contested the ball with a home player.

On the hour, Petitjean’s shot crashed off the woodwork then in the closing stages substitute Craig Spooner’s free kick from 22 yards thudded against the bar.

Ashington’s nine men had battled superbly – but they were to get no consolation effort as Spooner’s shot in stoppage time rolled the wrong side of the post.


Bridlington Town AFC vs Ashington

By Brian Bennett

Ashington’s disappointing start to the season continued on Saturday when they went down 2-0 away to Bridlington on the East coast.

This was their third league defeat of the campaign and once again it was a game where over the 90 minutes, they matched their opponents for endeavour and were certainly not outplayed but ultimately were undone twice within a 15 minutes spell in the second half.

Colliers boss Ian Skinner handed debuts to Simon Jakab and Declan Bisset whilst Jordan Summerly slotted in at left back on his return.

Max Emmerson was named on the bench but pulled up in the pre match warm up and was replaced by goalkeeper Max Coombe.

There was little to enthuse over in the opening ten minutes until a through ball saw the assistant raise his flag for offside against the home side. Everyone stopped except Glen Sani who continued with his run and netted wide of ‘keeper Karl Dryden.

Referee Matthew Wright then consulted with his assistant before disallowing the goal.

On the quarter hour, Lewis Dennison was clean through after getting the better of a tackle with Darren Lough but his powder puff effort was easily held by Dryden.

The game was switching from one end to the other but with defences on top and chances were consequently at a premium.

Ashington’s first shot of the game came two minutes later which saw Damen Mullen’s long range right footer palmed away by home ‘keeper James Hitchcock.

The best move of the match by either side came in the 33rd minute after Mullen and Summerly had combined down the left but when the latter cut the ball back, Karl Ross fired over the bar.

Then came the two crucial moments in the game as Bridlington took charge.

With only five minutes played in the second half, the Colliers were caught napping after the home side had forced a corner on the left.

Ashington allowed Cam Cunningham to play the corner short to Matty Dixon and when he whipped the ball over, substitute Benn Lewis headed in.

Worse was to follow as Sani beat the offside trap, went through and finished emphatically driving the ball into the top corner of the net past Dryden.

Ironically, the second goal led to Ashington having a prolonged spell of dominance. They were the better side but lacked a cutting edge up front or their final pass went astray.

And when substitute Ben Sampson had an effort cleared off the line with quarter of an hour remaining, the Colliers must have known then that it just wasn’t going to be their day.


Ashington vs Consett

By Brian Bennett

Two clinical finishes at the beginning of each half by Wil Shaw and Scott Fenwick wrapped up victory for Consett against Ashington at Woodhorn Lane on Bank Holiday Monday.

The Colliers – fresh from picking up their first win of the season following a 2-1 result over Stocksbridge 48 hours earlier – had plenty of possession but gave a poor and uninspiring display in front of a crowd of just under 700.

The home side had the first chance of the game when Oli Thompson and Craig Spooner worked a swift one-two which ended with the former’s shot being turned away by ‘keeper James Anderson.

But in the ninth minute, the home side pressed the self destruct button and consequently found themselves a goal behind.

Playing out from the back, they were caught out as they lost possession. The ball found Shaw who burst inside the penalty area before making no mistake with a drive which screamed past ‘keeper Karl Dryden before nestling inside the corner of the net.

Ben Sampson blazed wide and a cross by Thompson was cleared by Calvin Smith in the nick of time with Charlie Exley ready to pounce but generally Ashington were causing their own problems and on occasions their passing was sub standard.

Wilson Kneeshaw and Dan Maguire combined to set up Sampson whose effort was deflected for a corner and in the dying minutes of the half, Maguire turned on a sixpence and directed a left footer which flashed narrowly over.

Early in the second period, Spooner had a shot blocked by former Collier Ryan McKinnon then at the other end Zak Atkinson released Jack Gibbons down the right but the number seven hit the side netting.

Then in the 56th minute the Steelmen added a second on the break when the ball was launched into the Ashington half. After beating Darren Lough in the air, Fenwick put himself through with a clear run on goal and applied a cool finish past the advancing Dryden.

Spooner threatened on a couple of occasions then Thompson and Karl Ross had efforts blocked by a Consett defence who defended manfully.

Inside the final ten minutes, Spooner provided a great cross from the left but substitute Mason Hardy headed well wide then play switched with Shaw driving wide of the far post.

With time running out, a shot by Thompson was snuffed out before Nathan Buddle’s pass found Hardy whose drive struck the outside of the post.


Stocksbridge Park Steels vs Ashington

By Brian Bennett

Mason Hardy came off the bench to fire Ashington to their first league victory of the season against Stocksbridge Park Steels at the Eco Power Stadium on Saturday.

Charlie Exley had opened the scoring for the Colliers early in the contest but ten minutes later, Luke Rawson equalised from the penalty spot. Just before the hour mark, Hardy struck what proved to be the decisive goal which saw the Wansbeck side return home with all three points.

Whilst the super sub took the plaudits, Ashington will look back on an opening quarter hour where they could have cruised into a commanding lead.

They got the opener in the eighth minute when Kyle Errington found Oli Thompson down the right. The newcomer swung the ball across to the far post where it was met perfectly by Exley who squeezed a firm header between ‘keeper Henry Hampshaw and the post.

Two minutes later a delightful ball over the top of the home defence by Craig Spooner put Wilson Kneeshaw clean through down the middle with only Hampshaw to beat but the striker was thwarted by the stopper who blocked his effort.

Then Exley’s pass put Kneeshaw in the clear down the left but on this occasion, the forward clipped his shot around Hampshaw but wide of the far post.

Ashington – and Kneeshaw – were to rue those golden opportunities as the home side levelled in the 17th minute – from the spot.

Ify Ofoegbu raided down the left and when he advanced into the area, was sent sprawling by a tackle from Nathan Buddle with Rawson sending ‘keeper Karl Dryden the wrong way from the resultant penalty.

Three minutes later, Thompson was denied what would have been a superlative goal on his debut.

After picking the ball up from just outside his own penalty area, he made a surging run deep into the Stocksbridge half, cut across from left to right then unleashed a stinging effort which was fisted away to safety by Hampshaw.

The incident deservedly drew warm applause from the crowd in appreciation for both the run by Thompson and the save by Hampshaw.

Stocksbridge got stronger as the half wore on and on the half hour, Ofoegbu took the ball past the advancing Dryden but shot across the face of the goal then the stopper repelled a drive from Jack Tinker.

The sun came out for the start of the second period – and the visiting rearguard had to withstand a bit of heat from the home side.

In the 49th minute, Watson was through on the left and placed his shot wide of Dryden only to see the ball strike the inside of the post then the striker went past the ‘keeper on the right hand side of the box but lifted his shot over the bar from a tight angle.

Ashington had been sloppy from the resumption but in the 58th minute – and against the run of play – they regained the lead with an excellent strike by Hardy.

Spooner provided the assist for the youngster who nonchalantly clipped the ball with the outside of his left foot wide of the advancing Hampshaw and just inside the post.

Ben Sampson had a stinging goalbound effort deflected for a corner then at the other end, Watson saw a low drive pushed away by Dryden.

In the closing stages Dryden held a shot on the turn by Rawson and twice in stoppage time, raids down the left by the home side were halted by superb tackles from Kyle Errington and Hardy.


Ashington vs Ossett United

By Brian Bennett

Ashington were beaten by a route one goal scored by Ossett’s Kelan Swales on Tuesday night in their Pitching In Northern Premier League East Division clash at Woodhorn Lane.

In front of a crowd of 553, the Colliers – who trailed as early as the 12th minute – threw everything at their West Yorkshire opponents especially in a one sided second period but ended with no reward for their efforts.

Ashington – kicking towards the Welfare end with the sun in their eyes – were quickly out of the traps and made inroads inside the opening minute.

Scott Heslop and Dan Maguire manufactured a swift one-two but the former was denied by a defensive block.

Ossett’s first chance arrived in the sixth minute when home ‘keeper Karl Dryden parried out a shot by Rafa Ferreira but from the rebound, Derry Robson’s effort sailed over.

Play immediately switched to the other end, with Ashington coming so close to breaking the deadlock.

Fine work by Maguire saw him cross left footed into the area where Cameron Gascoigne’s header smacked against the angle of post and crossbar and was cleared to safety.

Five minutes later, only excellent defending by Ossett kept the score line blank.

Ben Sampson, Maguire and Heslop combined inside the area and when the latter slipped the ball across, Gascoigne’s effort was blocked then the follow up by Heslop was also snuffed out.

Incredibly, the visitors opened the scoring from the resultant goal kick launched by ‘keeper Joe Green.

The ball found Swales on the left whose left footer beat Dryden at his near post before nestling in the back of the net.

Ashington hit back following a free kick by Darren Lough. His pass was laid off by Heslop to Jordan Summerly and when the full back slipped the ball into the path of Craig Spooner, he lifted his shot over the bar.

Heslop directed a shot straight at ‘keeper Green then Sampson curled a right footer which went narrowly wide.

Ossett were lightening quick on the break and in the 35th minute, centre half and skipper Harry Coates missed a glorious chance with a header from a free kick.

As the half drew to a close, the pacy Swales was thwarted by a superb tackle from Ashington skipper Nathan Buddle then the visiting forward had a shot pushed out by Dryden.

Ashington camped inside the Ossett half throughout the second period but just couldn’t find a way through.

Early doors, Spooner drove wide but it was Green who preserved his sides’ lead with two excellent saves inside the space of ten minutes.

On the hour, the home side engineered a brilliant move down the right involving Sampson and Maguire and it ended with Spooner’s low effort being turned around by Green.

Then after approach play by Maguire on the right, a shot on the turn by Heslop was saved by Green.

The Colliers introduced Wilson Kneeshaw for Gascoigne and four minutes later, the substitute ventured forward but fired over.

Still Ashington continued to knock on the door but they were thwarted by a determined rearguard.

A low cross by Heslop was poked wide by Kneeshaw then with five minutes of the 90 remaining, great work by Summerly saw him pull the ball back but Kneeshaw’s effort was somehow blocked by Green for a corner.

The game entered into seven minutes of stoppage time and a shot by Lough was straight down Green’s throat before in the dying seconds, a rasping right foot drive from 25 yards by Maguire fizzed agonisingly just past Green’s upright.