By Brian Bennett
Ashington came away with a deserved 0-0 draw following an impressive showing in this pre season friendly against Morpeth Town at Craik Park on Saturday.
The game was played in incessant rain but it gave the artificial surface a bit of zip and there were good one touch combination moves from both sides during the contest.
In his pre match notes Colliers manager Ian Skinner had said “I’d like to think we’ll go there (to Morpeth) and cause them some problems” – and the boss must have been delighted as his side did just that against an outfit who operate one division higher up the footballing pyramid.
Overall the Woodhorn Lane outfit carved out more chances and they came so close to breaking the deadlock in the first period when Ben Sampson’s drive thudded against the underside of the bar.
The visitors settled immediately and striker Scott Heslop fashioned an opportunity after only 24 seconds when his shot from 20 yards was held by home ‘keeper Dan Lowson.
At the other end Morpeth’s Jack Foalle – who was to be a constant threat – netted in the eighth minute but the goal was disallowed for offside.
Further chances fell Ashington’s way with Damen Mullen going close from distance; Heslop placing a header the wrong side of the post then Craig Spooner’s effort from 22 yards flashing narrowly wide of the post.
Sandwiched in-between Ashington stopper Karl Dryden denied Foalle at the near post before the forward fired over on the half volley.
Ashington’s build up play had been admirable and on the half hour when Sampson unleashed a 25 yarder, only the woodwork prevented them from taking what would have been a deserved lead.
Then shortly before the break the Colliers pieced together another slick move when Karl Ross crossed from the left, Sampson teed the ball up but Dan Maguire saw his right footer whistle past the upright.
Early in the second period, Dryden made a stunning stop as he deflected the ball with his legs for a corner but back came Ashington and after Lowson had pouched a 30 yarder from Sampson, a diagonal ball in by Darren Lough saw Heslop’s strike well blocked by the home custodian.
On the hour, Dryden pushed away from Danny Barlow then from a corner on the left the lively Foalle directed a header straight at the visiting ‘keeper.
The final opportunity fell Ashington’s way in the 83rd minute when Cameron Gascoigne headed just wide following a cross from the left by Jordan Summerly.