Ashington vs Newcastle Benfield

By Brian Bennett

Ashington bridged a nine year gap on Bank Holiday Monday when they deservedly lifted the Ebac Northern League Division One Cup after victory over Newcastle Benfield at North Shields’s Daren Persson Stadium.

It was back in 2013 when the Colliers last won silverware as they clinched the Northumberland Senior Cup during Gary Middleton’s reign as manager with a 3-0 success over Whitley Bay at Newcastle United’s St James’ Park.

And on Monday, in what was the fifth clash of the season between the two sides this season, the win was both comfortable and convincing as the Colliers tore their opponents apart – literally from kick-off.

That’s when Dean Briggs won the ball on the half way line which was pounced on by Lewis Suddick.

All of a sudden, Benfield were wide open at the back with Suddick having acres of space to advance down the right flank and when he pulled the ball square, Paul Robinson blasted into the roof of the net with the goal logged at 32 seconds.

The goal sent the terrific following of fans from Wansbeck into raptures but as the Ashington contingent celebrated, there were further problems for the visitors when their long serving goalkeeper Andrew Grainger received lengthy treatment after appearing to collide with the goalpost.

Benfield’s first sorte downfield came in the seventh minute when former Collier Ryan McGorrigan charged down the left but his cross was cleared.

The Wansbeck outfit doubled their lead on the quarter hour – from the spot.

Briggs made his way into the area where he went to ground under a challenge from a Benfield defender. Referee Glen Hart pointed for a penalty and Suddick made no mistake as he rolled the ball inside the bottom corner.

Ashington could have added to their tally after two fine moves inside 90 seconds.

Skipper Ben Harmison’s header found Briggs who passed to Craig Spooner but he curled his effort wide of Grainger’s left hand upright.

Then a well worked free kick involving Suddick, Robinson and Jordan Summerly ended with a centre by the latter going across the face of goal.

Ashington had been in control of the first period – and little changed after the break.

Indeed they could have made an identical start to the second half as they had to the first when Ben Sampson got possession but fired narrowly over the bar from distance.

However in the 56th minute, what was to be the goal of the game was scored by Paul Robinson.

Sampson claimed the assist as he feigned to shoot then laid a pass off for Robinson who ran onto the ball and whipped a brilliant right footer from the edge of the area inside the top corner leaving Grainger helpless.

Three minutes later, Benfield ought to have reduced the arrears when following a corner on the left, skipper Mark Turnbull headed wide at the far post after a cross from Cameron Gascoigne.

However sixty seconds later, the Newcastle side did get on the score sheet when Aiden Haley drove a low effort from the edge of the box inside ‘keeper Adam McHugh’s left hand post.

But two minutes later, Ashington restored their three goals lead following a sweeping move from left to right.

It ended with Suddick finding Briggs and the striker slotted home, squeezing a shot between Grainger and his post.

Suddick cut inside but saw his shot blocked for a corner then McGorrigan had the ball in the Ashington net but the goal was disallowed for offside.

The closing minutes saw Benfield’s Turnbull and Brad Varga receive yellow cards whilst Dennis Knight saw red following a foul on Summerly.

But after the final whistle, it was Ashington skipper Ben Harmison who proudly held aloft the Cup following a dominant display.


North Shields vs Ashington

By Gary Bell

There were two changes to the Ashington starting eleven for the midweek game away to North Shields from the side that defeated Northallerton on Saturday with Anderson in for Taylor and Harmison replacing Agnew who dropped down to the bench.

The Colliers started the game on the front foot and were unlucky on two minutes when a stinging goalbound effort from Karl Ross hit Ashington forward Ryan McGorrigan and deflected to safety.  Sheilds went on an immediate reply with Dan Wilson breaking down the right and crossing into the box.  Carl Dryden in the Ashington goal got a hand to it but the ball spilled from his grasp, but he quickly recovered to grab the ball to his chest at the second attempt.

Ashington’s plans were thrown into disarray in the fourth minute when Max Emmerson went down in pain in an off the ball incident and after lengthy treatment he limped from the field to be replaced by Davey Luke.  The Ashington midfielder was called into action on nine minutes when a cross from the North Shields right was met by a powerful header by Dan Wilson in the area, but Luke managed to divert the effort with a header in the six-yard box.  With the rebound falling to Jack Leonard on the edge of the box Danny Anderson did well to throw his body in front of his shot to block the effort to safety.

North Shields were in the ascendancy and Curtis Coppen had to be on his toes when a through ball sent Callum Smith clear down the right, but the Ashington defender managed to make a last-ditch tackle to divert the danger.  Coppen then became an unlikely source of attack for the visitors when he picked up the ball on halfway and drove into the North Shields half hitting a swerving effort from 30 yards which went just the wrong side of the left upright.  A minute later McGorrigan was sent in on goal with a through ball by Ross but his shot was pulled wide of the goal.

A sustained period of pressure then ensued with the home side taking control of proceedings.  On 25 minutes Bramley, Coppen and Anderson all made good blocks from consecutive efforts on goal before Ben Harmison was able to hook the ball to safety.  A penetrating run from Andrew Cartwright then saw the full back cut inside of Anderson and his cross into the box found Smith but his shot cleared the bar.  A minute later however the home side’s pressure told when a neatly worked one-two down the left saw Jack Leonard and Cam Cunningham exchange passes before the latter lashed a shot from the edge of the box into bottom right corner.

The game fell into a lull until two free kicks in two minutes almost added goals at both ends.  Ashington were awarded a free kick just into Shields territory on the left and Anderson delivered a pinpoint cross into the box where Harmison’s outstretched leg just sent the ball over the bar from close range.  A minute later the home side were awarded a free kick which was whipped into the box by Cartwright, but Paul Van-Zandvliet saw his powerful header sail over the bar to safety.

The half time whistle sounded with North Shields good value for their 1-0 lead.

Ashington came out into the second half with renewed energy and on 48 minutes good work down the left by Jordan Summerly saw the ball played in to Dean Briggs on the edge of the area.  He held off the centre half to turn and fire an effort towards goal and was unlucky to see it said just the wrong side of the post.  A minute later Briggs looked to have been fouled when breaking into the area but the referee surprisingly waved play on.

Ashington were pressing high and restricting the home side’s attacking options and it wasn’t until 60 minutes were on the clock that Shields produced their first real effort of the half when Smith hit a long-range effort which Dryden collected comfortably in his midriff.

Ryan McGorrigan was unlucky shortly after when he latched onto a cross from the right to hit a left footed volley goalwards from a tight angle, but his effort was saved low down by keeper Greg Purvis.

In a rare Sheilds foray into the Ashington box the ball bounced around before Leonard hit a powerful shot which Bramley did well to get his body in front of to block to safety.

Halfway through the second half Dean Briggs picked up the ball on the edge of the opposition box and struck an effort towards goal.  His shot took a slight deflection which spun it up into the air and Purvis had to quickly back-peddle to just get his fingertips to the effort to avoid it lobbing over him and into the net.

Ashington were pushing hard to get back on level terms.  McGorrigan had an effort blocked by Chris McDonald when well placed and Ross saw a long-range shot go just wide.  Dean Briggs saw a free kick from just outside the box fumbled by Purvis, but it was hooked clear, but Anderson picked up the loose ball before playing in a cross that McGorrigan was inches away from as he lunged for the ball.

With the game going into injury time the visitor’s efforts looked to have been in vain but with one final push a long ball from the back saw substitute Luke Salmon break clear of the home defence.  As he powered into the box Purvis made a desperate lunge catching the feet of the attacking Ashington player.  With the referee poised to blow for a penalty the ball fell to the feet of the onrushing McGorrigan who calmly slotted the ball into the empty net to bring the scores level.

There was barely time for the game to restart before the referee sounded the final whistle.  With honours even both sides could be pleased with their evenings work.


North Shields vs Ashington

By Brian Bennett

Ashington stretched their unbeaten run to four matches when they deservedly picked up a share of the spoils from their clash against local rivals North Shields at the Daren Persson Stadium on Saturday.

The difficult windy conditions was the over-riding reason for what turned out to be a low key and tame encounter – but this young Colliers side are improving week by week and with Whitley Bay going down 2-1 at home to Sunderland RCA and Seaham Red Star without a fixture, Ian Skinner’s side climbed two places up to 14th in the Ebac Northern League’s first division table.

The team boss made two changes from the side that had fought back to claim a 1-1 draw against RCA in midweek with skipper Curtis Coppen and Brandon Slater returning to the starting line up.

The Robins were on the attack from the first whistle, breaking into the Ashington penalty area but the ball was cleared and the visitors immediately went down to the other end with a cross from the right by Callum Johnston played behind the incoming Dan Taggart. Ashington’s promising start continued and in the sixth minute a low right footer by Dom Price was only a whisker away with home ‘keeper Greg Purvis at full stretch diving to his left. On the quarter hour, Gary Ormston unleashed a sizzling effort which went just over and later in the half, the midfielder met a corner from the right to direct a thumping header which was cleared off the line by ‘keeper Adam McHugh. Sandwiched in-between, Price fed the ball through for Slater who cut inside but his effort lacked power and Purvis held with ease.

In the 37th minute, the Shieldsmen surged forward and Smith was just off target then Patton had a chance but was well blocked. On the stroke of the interval, Price slipped a pass through for David Luke who took the ball past Purvis but over-ran it then the final action of the half saw Johnston’s corner on the right which was caught by the wind, clip the top of the crossbar.

Early doors in the second half, Smith drove a speculative effort wide and Patton was foiled by McHugh before Ashington had a good spell which began with appeals for a penalty turned down by referee Derric Wade after Slater had gone to ground in the area. Home full back Nick Cassidy made a superb block to thwart Slater following a cross by Thomas Kalthoeber and midway through the period, only the woodwork denied the menacing Slater after he had cut inside two defenders from the left but saw his shot smack against the base of the post with Purvis beaten.

A big talking point occurred ten minutes from time. Smith nudged the ball past McHugh as the ‘keeper tried to clear just outside the area. The stopper missed his attempted connection and caught Smith with substitute Gareth Bainbridge tapping home after the ball had stuck the post – but the referee had already blown for a free-kick and the ‘goal’ did not count.

Shields thought McHugh should have seen red – he was yellow carded – and Bainbridge put the restart wide of the upright.

The Wansbeck side survived a couple of late scares before preserving a third clean sheet from their last four outings.


North Shields vs Ashington


North Shields vs Ashington