Season: 2022-23


Glossop North End AFC vs Ashington

By Brian Bennett  |  Photos: Ian Brodie

Ashington clinched promotion to the Pitching In Northern Premier League East Division on Saturday after a convincing and deserved 3-0 victory against Glossop North End in the Inter step play off at the Asgard Engineering Stadium.

On the day, all that mattered was the result – but Colliers manager Ian Skinner and his assistant Andy Coyles got much more than that from the players.

Over recent weeks, reference has been made about the Wansbeck side turning in their best performance of the season including their recent 6-0 thrashing over Tow Law.

Earlier in the campaign there were displays – and results – in their fabulous run in the Emirates FA Cup.

But without a shadow of a doubt – and bearing in mind in such a prestigious game against higher status opposition – they saved their finest until last.

Quite simply, Ashington were magnificent from start to finish.

They were creative and tenacious; their work rate was unrelenting and they were roared on by around 200 of travelling supporters who never stopped singing and gave their side plenty of vocal encouragement throughout.

It was a game of limited chances with all bar a couple falling to the visitors who settled immediately and who made a good start.

Inside the opening minutes, Craig Spooner fired wide then Paul Robinson and Jordan Summerly linked well and when the latter crossed, Ben Harmison headed narrowly over.

Glossop’s first opportunity came almost at the half way mark when Colliers ‘keeper Karl Dryden palmed out a shot from skipper Nathan Valentine.

Ashington’s approach work was also a feature – and it came to fruition in the 26th minute when they forged ahead.

Ben Sampson made a darting run forward from midfield before laying a pass off to Robinson.

The midfielder slipped the ball inside down the flank for the over lapping Summerly and when the full back whipped over a cross, skipper Ben Harmison finished the move off by hammering a right footer into the roof of the net.

The goal was no more than the visitors merited and would certainly not have been out of place in the highest standard of football.

Ashington had been the dominant side and their only disappointment at the interval was only having the one goal to show for their efforts.

The home side looked livelier from the start of the second period but apart from an effort by Bevan Burey which flashed wide, Ashington looked rock solid in defence.

The Colliers almost doubled their lead when Harmison headed down a free-kick by Andrew Cartwright but Robinson curled his effort past the post.

Sampson played a ball across the face of the goal with only a touch required before two goals inside three minutes effectively cemented Ashington their victory.

The first came in the 66th minute when Sampson played a lovely weighted through pass for Harmison who slotted home wide of advancing ‘keeper Craig Ellison.

Cartwright then struck a venomous free-kick from 30 yards which was spilled by Ellison and Spooner pounced onto the rebound to rifle the ball inside the net.

It had been a warm afternoon in Derbyshire but for the final 20 plus minutes, the heavens opened and the remainder of the game was played out in monsoon conditions.

During that time, Ashington ‘keeper Karl Dryden was called into action making a brilliant point-blank save from a header following a Glossop corner.

The final whistle sparked off jubilant scenes as the Ashington players and management raced over to where the majority of their supporters were standing to celebrate with them.

29 April 2023 - Glossop North End AFC v. Ashington AFC


Bishop Auckland vs Ashington

By Brian Bennett

A brilliant second half performance by Ashington saw them book a play off place and secure a second from top finish in their Ebac Northern League first division season after a tense and nervy 1-1 draw against Bishop Auckland at the AJS Joinery Stadium.

At this stage, the Colliers do not know who they will face this Saturday – only that the tie will be away – with a decision expected to be communicated to them by the Football Association on Wednesday.

In a prestigious game where the hosts had to win – whilst a draw would be enough for the Colliers – the Wansbeck outfit trailed to a disputed penalty in the first half but got back on terms on the hour after Andrew Cartwright had converted a spot kick.

However on a day where the result was the be all and end all, Ian Skinner’s outfit were the better footballing side in the second period and indeed would have been worthy winners had they added to their tally.

They missed opportunities – but as they valiantly tried to nudge ahead, were also thwarted by Bishops ‘keeper Ryan Catterick who pulled off four top drawer saves.

Heavy and incessant overnight rain had cast a doubt over the fixture but excellent work by the ground staff ensured that the much anticipated clash got the thumbs up from referee Kieran Graham.

Before kick-off, the players, officials and supporters observed a minute’s silence in memory of Bishops stalwart Dick Longstaff.

When the action started, the first incident of note saw home striker Louis Johnson replaced by Wayne Whitfield after he pulled up with a knee injury.

In the eighth minute, the two blues won a corner on the right and when Craig Gott found Dale Hopson on the edge of the box, he fired off target.

Ashington responded immediately with Cartwright slipping the ball through for Scott Heslop but his cross was intercepted then a free kick by Craig Spooner from 25 yards flew over the bar.

Just over the half way point, Paul Robinson and Heslop combined to set up Spooner who turned but saw his shot go wide.

Then on the half hour came a moment of controversy when Robbie Dale appeared to pull out of a challenge on Dean Thexton inside the area but the forward went to ground and the referee pointed to the spot.

Gott sent Karl Dryden the wrong way from the resultant penalty and to make matters worse, Cartwright spoke out of turn and was sent to the sin bin for ten minutes.

Robinson looked to be in a promising position inside the area but his shot was blocked then just before the break, Dane Burlace pulled the ball back where Marcus Giles lashed over.

The Colliers had 45 minutes left to address the deficit – and they were straight out of the blocks from the first whistle of the second period.

Ryan McKinnon replaced the injured Dale and two minutes in, Ashington carved out a glorious chance.

A ball down the line by Robinson found Jordan Summerly and from his cross Harmison directed a header straight at Catterick who fisted the ball away.

Robinson and Spooner exchanged a one-two which ended with the former’s shot being deflected wide then a pass by McKinnon found Spooner who fed Heslop but from his cross, Harmison dragged his shot wide from 12 yards.

Ben Sampson cleared from the danger area following a Bishops corner then Heslop had a deflected effort which spun into Catterick’s arms.

Just past the hour mark, Ashington got the equaliser they had been searching for.

Darren Lough’s ball into the area saw Heslop sent sprawling to the ground by a defender’s challenge and the referee awarded another penalty with Cartwright stepping forward and sending Catterick in the opposite direction.

Ashington continued to dominate, playing some fine constructive football into the bargain. Five minutes later, Summerly fed Heslop whose dipping 25 yarder was superbly tipped onto the bar by Catterick.

Ashington went at full throttle as they tried for a second and with 20 minutes remaining, substitute Dan Maguire tried his luck from distance but the effort went straight down Catterick’s throat.

As the clock ticked down, supporters on both sides felt the tension but the visitors defended superbly and then in the 89th minute, it was Catterick again, diving low to his right who kept out a 30 yards free kick by Cartwright which was sneaking inside the post.

There was a blow for Ashington in stoppage time when defender Darren Lough sustained a facial injury and was replaced by Damen Mullen.

Then came the final whistle …… which saw Ashington deservedly clinch their place in the play off.


Tow Law Town vs Ashington

By Brian Bennett  |  Photos: Ian Brodie

Ben Harmison notched his second hat trick of the season as Ashington went on a goal scoring spree after hitting six against Tow Law at the Ironworks Ground on Tuesday night.

The result saw the Colliers move back into second place in the first division of the Ebac Northern League, two points ahead of Bishop Auckland.

Now the stage is all set for what promises to be a fascinating contest on Saturday (April 22) when the Wansbeck side travel to face Bishops at Heritage Park with a play off place up for grabs.

In what was a tenacious, dominant and high energy display by Ian Skinner’s side, the victory over the Lawyers was never in any doubt after Harmison had hit a quickfire double inside the opening quarter hour.

Ashington hit the straps from the first whistle and after a snapshot by Craig Spooner had gone narrowly over ‘keeper Thomas Orton’s crossbar, the opener followed shortly after in the eighth minute.

Ben Sampson played a diagonal pass out to the right flank where the overlapping Andrew Cartwright swung over a cross which was majestically headed inside the corner of the net by Harmison.

The lead was doubled just shy of the quarter hour mark when Ashington profited after a scintillating move.

Paul Robinson found Jordan Summerly down the left and when the full back crossed to the far post, the ball was headed back by Scott Heslop for Harmison who side footed home on the half volley.

Ashington created more chances with Spooner having a shot saved by Orton; Harmison stroking an instinctive effort just wide then Heslop heading off target.

The visitors had been rampant and they added a third in the 27th minute courtesy of another high quality strike from the irrepressible Paul Robinson.

The midfielder picked up possession and from 22 yards, smashed a left footer which left Orton grasping thin air as it rocketed past him and into the roof of the net.

Ashington started the second half as they had the first – and inside two minutes, were awarded a spot kick by referee Ryan Moore when Harmison was sent sprawling following an intricate move.

Harmison stepped up and duly completed his hat-trick. Orton got a hand to the penalty but it had enough purchase on it to nestle inside the corner.

As the half wore on, Ashington manager Ian Skinner utilised his substitutes and seven minutes after being introduced, Lee Mason latched onto on an excellent cross from Harmison and buried a right footer past Orton.

Five minutes later, Summerly also found the back of the net but the score was ruled out for offside before Tow Law almost grabbed a consolation when an effort from distance by Mathew Robson shaved the bar.

However the game ended with the Colliers taking their tally to an impressive six.

Harmison was again involved finding Summerly down the left and when he crossed, Karl Ross steered the ball wide of Orton.

18 April 2023 – Tow Law Town FC v. Ashington AFC


Ashington vs Thornaby

By Brian Bennett  |  Photography: Ian Brodie

Ashington bounced back following their narrow 1-0 defeat against Whitley Bay on Good Friday by recording a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Thornaby at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday.

On a beautiful spring afternoon in Wansbeck, two goals from Craig Spooner and one from Paul Robinson accounted for the Teessiders – and the scoreline could have been more emphatic, possibly into double figures, had it not been for an outstanding display by goalkeeper Robert Dean who made some astonishing saves.

The result was the perfect tonic for the Wansbeck outfit after manager Ian Skinner had labelled the match as a ‘must win’ encounter whilst defeat saw Thornaby relegated to the second division of the Ebac Northern League.

Ashington groundsman Scott Robson had the pitch looking a picture with a circular cut field and after only 90 seconds, Dan Maguire – who was to play an integral part in proceedings – played a ball across the face of the goal.

Home supporters were left gasping in the sixth minute as Paul Robinson came within inches of scoring what would have been one of the best ever goals seen at the ground.

Dean slipped whilst launching a clearance and when the ball fell to Robinson, the midfielder struck a lob from the half way line which sailed over the stopper but bounced inside the six yards box and just over the bar. It was an effort which drew rapturous applause from the crowd whilst Robinson afforded a wry smile!

But home supporters didn’t have to wait much longer for their side to edge ahead as Spooner struck in the tenth minute.

Maguire did the spadework with excellent work on the right and when he rolled the ball across the edge of the penalty area, Spooner applied a left footed finish wide of Dean and into the corner of the net.

Two minutes later, Maguire had a shot blocked before a cross by Robbie Dale found Scott Heslop whose header was pushed aside by Dean.

Spooner shanked an effort wide then he was involved in a swift one-two with Maguire which ended with the striker’s right footer flashing narrowly wide.

The Colliers started the second period in identical fashion to the first – on the front foot.

Within the first 30 seconds, Ben Sampson slipped the ball out wide to Andrew Cartwright and when he crossed, Daniel Flounders was happy to turn it behind for a corner.

Incredibly twice within the space of 90 seconds, Maguire put the ball across the face of the goal before Dean denied Spooner.

However in the 57th minute, it was Spooner who doubled his sides lead with his second goal of the contest.

Maguire was again the supplier, laying the ball off for the midfielder whose brilliantly struck effort arced away from the despairing hands of Dean before nestling inside the corner of the net.

Five minutes later, Maguire made it a hat-trick of assists, as Ashington moved into a 3-0 lead. He found Robinson on the left and the ex Whitley Bay weaved inside and out then fired home.

In the 71st minute, Dean continued to perform heroics when he made a double save to deny substitutes Dean Briggs and Lee Mason.

Robinson was next to shake his head in disbelief after the ‘keeper had somehow pushed an effort from him over the bar then after a great run by Dale, the ex Blyth legend and sub Ben Harmison were also thwarted by the stopper.

15 April 2023 - Ashington AFC v. Thornaby FC