Season: 2021-22

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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Whickham vs Ashington

By Brian Bennett

A poor and disjointed second half performance by Ashington culminated in a defeat against a rejuvenated Whickham side at a windy First Mortgage Glebe ground on Saturday.

There is no doubt that the Newcastle based outfit – under recently appointed manager Tony Fawcett – had more hunger than the Colliers after the break and deserved the victory yet for the Colliers it was an afternoon of sheer frustration as they led three times during the contest before crumbling in the latter stages.

Overall, for the neutral, it was an eight goal thriller played out on an afternoon where the wind played a part – only Ashington manager Ian Skinner point blankly stated afterwards that conditions had no bearing on what was an under par performance by his side.

There was little to enthuse for supporters in the early stages. Paul Robinson curled a right footer wide then Whickham responded with a cross by Nathan Greenwood being intercepted by skipper Ben Harmison which was followed by a good tackle inside the area by Curtis Coppen.

At one end, a run down the right flank by Liam Doyle ended with his low cross eluding everybody at the far post then when play switched, Scott Robson was through one-on-one but saw his effort superbly blocked by Ashington ‘keeper Karl Dryden.

The first half had been pretty even but five minutes before half time, the visitors took the lead with a superb goal from Harmison.

They forced a flag kick on the left and when Danny Anderson floated the ball over, Harmison sent a bullet-like header wide of ‘keeper David Hanson and inside the far corner.

The second period again saw little action – until just before the hour mark when Whickham drew level as Kaleb Young’s sweetly struck free-kick from the right from 35 yards went across Dryden and into the net.

But a game which had been devoid of thrills and spills suddenly sprung to life with six goals crammed into the final 25 minutes.

Ashington regained the lead in the 65th minute when Anderson and Lewis Suddick combined down the right and when the latter played the ball across, Craig Spooner applied an exquisite low finish, side footing wide of Hanson and just inside the post.

But two minutes later it was all square at 2-2 when Scott Robson buried the ball past Dryden.

With quarter of an hour remaining, the Colliers pieced together another good move when Spooner found Doyle whose rasping right footer was touched onto the bar by Hanson but the rebound fell straight into the path of Dean Briggs who put the ball into an empty net.

Four minutes on and the game was back in the melting pot at 3-3 following a free-kick which saw Daniel Barlow fire home.

Incredibly Whickham – the stronger side in the period – edged ahead in the 82nd minute in fortuitous circumstances as Coppen’s attempted clearance rebounded off Barlow and into the goal.

And in their next sorte upfield, the home side forced a corner which was swung over by Young and was cleared off the line by Doyle.

Ashington pushed Harmison upfront to try and salvage a point – but two minutes from the 90, Greenwood sealed the points for Whickham when he waltzed straight through and drove past Dryden.

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