Season: 2022-23

Whickham vs Ashington

By Brian Bennett  |  Photos: Ian Brodie

Ashington suffered a blow to their promotion hopes when Tom Romano slotted home a stoppage time winner for Whickham at the First Mortgage Glebe Stadium on Tuesday night.

For the neutral it was an exciting contest which went one way then the other but for the Colliers, who trailed league leaders Newton Aycliffe by three points, it was the game in hand they had over the County Durham side who now remain in pole position.

For the umpteenth time this season, it was the proverbial game of two halves. Ashington were bright and dominant in the first period and although they deservedly reached the break one goal to the good through Karl Ross, the lead should have been more.

Then second half, the Lang Jacks – kicking with the slope – were the better outfit giving everything they had in terms of work rate and desire. After scoring a controversial equaliser within minutes at the start of the second half, they netted twice on the counter to seal the points whilst Ashington’s recent newcomer Scott Heslop grabbed his first goal for the club on his full debut which at the time brought the scores level at 2-2.

And it was Heslop who caused the home side all sorts of problems particularly in the early stages.

In the sixth minute, he fired wide then on the quarter hour, met a cross from Ben Sampson to direct a brilliant header which thudded against the angle of post and crossbar.

Heslop was a constant livewire and later he drove narrowly over on the turn before he struck another effort which was deflected then turned around by ‘keeper Nicky Liversedge.

Lewis Suddick was next to fire off target after he met a cross by Ross before the home side registered their first shot after the half way mark with Robson well wide. Seconds later, Romano looked to be closing in on goal until he was stopped in his tracks by a great tackle from Robbie Dale.

Back came Ashington and after Lewis Suddick had exchanged a couple of one-two’s with Heslop, he shot wide.

But the goal which Ashington had warranted eventually came in the 32nd minute.

Initially the ball was played from the right, Ben Harmison got a foot to it to set up Jordan Summerly whose driven cross was blocked but the ball ran out to Karl Ross who clipped an effort inside the corner of the net on the half volley.

The Colliers deservedly led at the interval – but those missed chances were to come back and bite them.

There have also been moments of controversy in the last few games for the Wansbeck side and early in the second period, came another huge talking point which resulted in Whickham’s equaliser.

Darren Lough thought he had ushered the ball out for a goal kick but with no flag from the assistant, Romano picked up possession, cut across and slotted past ‘keeper Karl Dryden.
Minutes later, the Colliers were appealing for a foul which was not given and Dan Turner flashed a shot wide.

At the other end, Harmison met a cross by Summerly to send a left footed volley past the upright.

Ashington’s defence were having their work cut out by the lively Whickham front line – in particular Robson – and midway through, the centre forward cut inside then drove an effort narrowly wide.

Within seconds, the home side forced a corner on the left and Ross Peareth was not far away.

Then in the 72nd minute Whickham took the lead.

Ashington were exposed on the break and who else but Robson made them pay the penalty when his pace took him through and after side stepping Dryden, he slotted home.

Three minutes later, it was Robson again down the right who set up Romano but Dryden saved superbly blocking the ball with his legs.

In the 78th minute, the Colliers got back on level terms.

A move started in midfield by Dale ended when a cross from the left by Ross was turned in by Heslop.

Minutes later, Sampson found substitute Craig Spooner who had a great opening but fired over.

In the second minute of time added on for stoppages, the Ashington defence were caught out again and when the ball was played across, Romano hammered home what proved to be the winner.

28 March 2023 - Whickham FC v. Ashington AFC


Ashington vs Newton Aycliffe

By Brian Bennett

It was billed as the ‘Match of the Day’ in the Ebac Northern League on ‘Non League Day’ – and leaders Newton Aycliffe and second placed Ashington didn’t disappoint as they played out an intriguing 1-1 draw in front of a bumper crowd of 941 at Woodhorn Lane.

Only three weeks ago, the corresponding clash between the two sides had seen the Newtonians run out 4-1 winners in a game which also saw both outfits reduced to ten men.

On Saturday it was deja vu – with Colliers defender Darren Lough seeing red in the 65th minute and Aycliffe’s influential midfielder Ethan Wood receiving his marching orders for a second yellow card as the game approached the final ten minutes.

The visitors started the better and on the quarter hour mark home ‘keeper Karl Dryden was called into action diving to his left to push away a goalbound effort from Liam Adamson.

Three minutes later Colliers skipper Ben Harmison spurned a glorious opening.

Robbie Dale swung over a deep cross from the right but Harmison – after peeling away from his marker – shanked a half volley wide.

Now it was Ashington’s turn to be in the ascendency and seconds later, Harmison glanced the ball on but Dan Maguire snatched at the opportunity and his effort went past the same upright.

Midway through Craig Spooner capitalised on an error by an Aycliffe defender and advanced before seeing his shot pushed away by former Colliers stopper Adam McHugh.

The home side ramped up the pressure forcing four corners in succession with McHugh forced to push away an in-swinger from Andrew Cartwright before Harmison headed over from the last.

Dean Briggs curled wide then Adamson found Kyle Davis whose shot was off target.

In stoppage time, Ashington went ahead.

A deep free kick by Lough saw Maguire’s shot parried by McHugh but Harmison was on hand to smash home the rebound from close range.

In the opening minute of the second half, a great through ball by Cartwright found Maguire but the move ended with Briggs directing a tame shot at McHugh.

Shortly afterwards, an error in the home defence saw Jack Naylor’s effort crucially saved with his legs by Dryden then Adamson fired over.

Aycliffe had come out all guns blazing as they took the game to their opponents and the home goal survived after a corner from the right went across the face of the goal and out for a goal kick.

Then a turning point arrived in the 65th minute.

Referee Lewis Hardy blew for a handball against Lough and also sent the defender off before Liam Jarvie stepped up to send Dryden the wrong way from the resultant penalty which brought the scores level.

Ten minutes later, Dryden parried an effort from Wood and Naylor netted from the rebound but the goal was disallowed for offside.

Briggs cut inside to curl an effort from the edge of the box just wide before Aycliffe were also reduced in number when Wood received a second yellow followed by a red after stopping a promising run through the middle by Dale.

The finale was nervy and cagey – and the third minute of time added on saw Ashington go close. Dale found Cartwright down the right and from his cross, substitute Scott Heslop headed just over.

At the start of the day, the County Durham side were three points in front of the Colliers having played a game more – but the 1-1 draw saw Bishop Auckland leapfrog over the Wansbeck side following their 5-1 win against Sunderland RCA.

25 March 2023 - Ashington AFC v. Newton Aycliffe FC


Redcar Athletic vs Ashington

By Brian Bennett

Ashington produced one of their best performances of the season to comfortably brush Redcar Athletic aside at Green Lane on Saturday.

Goals from Dan Maguire, Darren Lough and substitute Lee Mason accounted for the Steelmen who went into the clash with four consecutive wins behind them.

Newton Aycliffe – who topped the division beforehand – saw their match at home to West Allotment Celtic subject of a late call off after torrential rain and consequently Ashington’s victory saw the Colliers go joint top of the division, only separated by goal difference.

However, whilst the Wansbeck outfit have no fixture in midweek, third placed Bishop Auckland who are one point behind, are at home to Whickham on Tuesday and Aycliffe travel to face Crook Town the following night so the situation could change again!

Nevertheless, Ashington’s home clash against Newton Aycliffe on Saturday (March 25) promises to be a real humdinger with a bumper crowd expected at Woodhorn Lane on Non League Day.

On a mild afternoon on the Yorkshire coast, Ian Skinner’s side started well. With only 90 seconds on the clock, Dean Briggs fed the over lapping Jordan Summerly down the left and the full back put over a first time ball which went begging after flashing across the face of goal.

Minutes later, it was Summerly again who provided a deep cross which was well defended by James Paylor at the far post, who headed the ball behind for a corner with Ben Harmison ready to pounce.

In the ninth minute, the visitors deservedly opened the scoring. Home ‘keeper Jack Norton made a hash of a clearance which fell to Briggs. He passed forward to Maguire and the striker advanced before curling a sweet right footer from the edge of the area into the corner of the net.

Ashington continued to have the upper hand and it was past the half hour mark before Redcar had their first shot at goal with Craig Hutchinson clipping a left foot effort wide from 20 yards.

Ahead of the break, Maguire played Craig Spooner through but his effort was turned over by Norton.

Ashington began the second half in identical fashion to the first. Within the opening minute, Harmison hooked on a throw in by Andrew Cartwright which released Briggs but after cutting inside, his effort was held by Norton.

Seven minutes in, Redcar were reduced to ten men when midfielder Reece Kenney – who had been booked in the first period – stopped a promising attack on the half way line as he fouled Briggs and was shown a second yellow card followed by a red by referee Barry Tones.

Ashington tried to press home their advantage which started when Robbie Dale’s through pass found Maguire who crossed but Harmison missed connecting by millimetres. After that, Briggs had an effort deflected whilst Lough, Maguire and Cartwright all narrowly missed the target.

Midway through, Ashington almost pressed the self destruct button as they tried to play out from the back.

They lost possession and ‘keeper Karl Dryden – after initially parrying a shot from Hutchinson – moved swiftly to brilliantly block the follow up effort from Brandon Holdsworth.

Norton denied Maguire and Briggs but there was nothing the stopper could do in the 74th minute as Lough gave the Colliers a two goals cushion.

Harmison glanced on a corner from the right by Cartwright and Lough – at the far post – headed home.

And things just got better and better as ten minutes later, Mason finished off an excellent team goal.

Cartwright and Spooner were involved at the beginning of the move before Sampson played the ball through for Spooner whose cross from near the by line saw Mason apply the finishing touch.

In stoppage time, Norton blocked from Mason then the ‘keeper saved in spectacular fashion to deny substitute Karl Ross.


Ashington vs Guisborough Town

By Brian Bennett  |  Photo Gallery: Ian Brodie

Ashington left it late before a header from skipper Ben Harmison saw them deservedly secure all three points against Guisborough Town at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday.

In what was a high drama crescendo to the game, Harmison’s clincher came in the last minute of the 90 – seconds after Guisborough ‘keeper Will Cowey had saved a penalty from Damen Mullen.

Harmison – sent off the previous week at Newton Aycliffe – would have started a suspension but in midweek the Colliers were successful after lodging an appeal, which meant the striker was free to play.

The result saw the Wansbeck outfit pick up their sixth double of the season and after an identical score line over the Priorymen last month, it was a similarly hard fought contest.

Indeed, the visitors got into their stride from the first whistle and could have been two goals to the good inside the opening ten minutes.

Striker Jack Blackford had an effort pushed away by home ‘keeper Karl Dryden then Michael McGee was clean through but Dryden again came to his sides’ rescue as he stood firm to foil him by saving with his foot.

Ashington’s first threat came in the 12th minute when Ben Sampson and Dan Maguire combined but when the latter laid the ball into the path of Craig Spooner, Callum Martin nipped in to whip the ball off his toes.

Robbie Dale made a crucial tackle on the by line to halt McGee and from the resultant corner on the left by Shaaban Mohammed, Blackford’s effort from the edge of the area struck the bar.

Midway through the half, Ashington thought they had broken the deadlock – until the goal was controversially ruled out.

Andrew Cartwright’s deep cross from the right was headed back across by Maguire and Harmison lashed the ball into the net – but after consulting with his assistant, referee David Carr disallowed the score for a handling offence which left home supporters bemused.

Ashington had struggled especially in the final third then in time added on, Sampson found Harmison and when he set up Cartwright, the defender’s effort was deflected for a corner.

Minutes into the second period, an excellent tackle in the area by Ryan McKinnon stopped Blackford then when play switched to the other end, Sampson put Dean Briggs through the middle but his low right footer was tipped away by Cowey.

In the 52nd minute, McGee ran through and saw Dryden deflect his shot against the foot of the post then shortly afterwards, the home stopper was called into action again to hold a drive from Blackford.

On the hour, Spooner – after receiving the ball from Mullen – skipped past a defender on a promising run but fired wide of Cowey’s right hand post.

Home boss Ian Skinner had introduced Paul Robinson and the experienced midfielder was certainly influential in the last 35 minutes.

His first piece of action was to find Sampson who lifted the ball through to Maguire whose shot was blocked.

In a grandstand finale Guisborough found Harmison too hot to handle.

On 81 minutes, Mullen and Spooner were involved in a slick combination and when the ball was played to Harmison, his audacious first time volley from 35 yards flashed narrowly wide of the post.

Karl Ross had also been thrust into the fray and within seconds of his introduction, the sub played the ball out wide to the over lapping Cartwright and when he crossed, Harmison’s powerful header smacked against the bar.

Sixty seconds later, Ashington – roared on by their fanatical supporters – created again with Harmison heading over from a Summerly cross then in the 88th minute, Robinson went down in the area after a challenge by a defender and the nearside assistant flagged for a foul.

Referee Carr duly pointed to the spot but Mullen’s penalty was parried by Cowey.

However, Spooner seized on the rebound and when he crossed from the by line, Harmison send a bullet-like header into the roof of the net from close range.

Incredibly, the non stop action continued until the final whistle.

In the third minute of time added on for stoppages, Guisborough were awarded a free kick inches outside the area and Mohammed’s effort went narrowly past the post.

Then on the break, home sub Adam Johnson skipped past two defenders but chipped wide as Cowey advanced.

11 March 2023 - Ashington AFC v. Guisborough Town FC


Newton Aycliffe vs Ashington

By Brian Bennett

Ashington missed an opportunity to go to the top of the first division of the Ebac Northern League on Saturday when a late show by current leaders Newton Aycliffe saw them run out 4-1 winners at the SecuriCorp Stadium.

Two goals in the final ten minutes from substitute Jack Clarkson and Ethan Wood cemented the victory for the hosts but the final scoreline was undoubtedly harsh on a Colliers side who had gone into the contest boasting eight wins from their last nine games.

It was a highly anticipated tussle and deservedly dressed up as a top billing clash – Aycliffe against second in the table Ashington – but the whole complexion of the match changed on the quarter hour when Colliers skipper Ben Harmison was red carded.

Ashington – through poor defending – were already trailing to a goal in the fifth minute after a cross from the by line by Liam Jarvie was headed in at the back post by Jack Naylor.

The game went flat before a 30 yarder by Wood was tipped over by Karl Dryden and five minutes later, the stopper made a double block from Jarvie and Joseph Smith.

In the 38th minute, Aycliffe doubled their lead when Smith played the ball across for Liam Adamson who made no mistake.

Shortly afterwards, the Colliers were handed a lifeline.

Oscar Eckley-Aldsworth was sent off following a tackle on Jordan Summerly just inside the Aycliffe half and after a delay whilst the full back received treatment, the free kick was played to Dan Maguire who lashed the ball home from 20 yards.

Ashington were now in the ascendancy and consequently the half time whistle came as a relief for the home side.

Early doors after the break, Dryden gathered well from a shot by Wood then Maguire played the ball square to Ben Sampson but he blazed over.

Another key turning point arrived in the 55th minute when a low shot by Maguire took a deflection off Dean Briggs and rolled along the goal-line before going out for a goal kick.

That was as good as it got for the Colliers whilst their opponents came on strongly in the final quarter hour.

Sub Clarkson rolled a ball across the face with Adamson just missing out then Naylor drove wide.

But with eight minutes of the 90 left, Clarkson cut across from left to right and rifled in a decisive third for Aycliffe.

And in the third minute of time added on, a clever flick by sub Charlie Dawson set up Wood who curled a superb effort wide of Dryden and inside the far corner of the net.



Ashington vs Carlisle City

By Brian Bennett  |  Photo Gallery: Ian Brodie

Dean Briggs scored a late winner at Woodhorn Lane on Tuesday night to give Ashington their eighth win from nine matches which consolidated their second from top spot in the first division of the Ebac Northern League.

Briggs – a 76th minutes substitute – netted with a cool right footer from the edge of the area which found the corner of the net after excellent work by fellow sub Paul Robinson.

In truth although they left it late to break down a stubborn and well organised Carlisle rearguard, it was nothing more than the Colliers deserved on a wet night in Wansbeck.

The home side dominated proceedings and took the game to their Cumbria opponents from the off but it was beginning to look as if Carlisle’s game plan would see them leave with a point – until Briggs came up with the all important strike.

Early on in the contest, an in-swinging corner on the left by Andrew Cartwright was met by Ryan McKinnon but his header was cleared from the danger zone.

Time and time again, Ashington’s approach play was decent but then they left their supporters frustrated by a lack of cohesion in the final third.

On the half hour, after a good build up down the right, Ben Sampson flashed a ball right across the face of the goal when only a touch was required.

But the danger was being caught on the counter and two minutes later, home ‘keeper Karl Dryden was called into action, pushing away an effort from Jordan Palmer.

Robbie Dale was next to set up a chance for Ross but the midfielder got no purchase on his shot which was easily dealt with by ‘keeper Lewis Boyd.

Eight minutes after half time, a ball by Mason got behind the visitors defence but Sampson, after reaching the by-line, saw his cross held by Boyd.

Later a corner on the right by Cartwright saw Craig Spooner’s ground shot instinctively flicked by Dan Maguire but the ball brushed against the outside of the post before rolling out for a goal kick.

Again Ashington knocked on the door when Maguire found the over lapping Jordan Summerly down the left but his ball in fizzed across the six yards box.

In the 71st minute another flag kick on the right was met by Spooner whose right footer from the edge of the area smacked against the crossbar and was cleared.

Ross then latched onto a pass from Summerly and teed the ball up for himself only to fire over the bar.

When sub Scott Heslop dragged wide after a ball over the top from McKinnon, time was starting to run out for the Colliers.

But in the 84th minute – three minutes after coming on – Robinson’s skill on the left saw him cut inside before finding Briggs whose assured finish sent the home fans into raptures.

Ashington safely negotiated the closing stages, including five minutes of time added on when basically, they had to do it with ten men as Heslop – who bravely returned to the pitch to soldier on – had a foot injury and all five substitutes had been used.

28 February 2023 - Ashington AFC v. Carlisle City FC