By Brian Bennett
Stand-in skipper Karl Ross scored a dramatic equaliser deep into stoppage time to ensure Ashington a share of the spoils from a six goal thriller against West Allotment Celtic at a sun drenched East Palmersville Sports ground on Saturday.
Ross’s effort – in a game which see-sawed one way then the other – extended the Colliers’ unbeaten away run to four matches in the Ebac Northern League’s first division and although the visitors never reached any great heights in what was an average performance, it was nevertheless a point which they thoroughly deserved.
However, it was even more welcome with manager Ian Skinner only able to name three substitutes – including goalkeeper Adam McHugh – as he had to reckon without injured trio Max Emmerson, Bobby Taylor and Dean Briggs whilst Jordan Summerly and Curtis Coppen were unavailable.
Yannick Aziakonou returned to the starting line up in the centre of defence and made a superb tackle in the penalty area in the seventh minute to halt Guilherme Baltazar.
The game changed within the space of two minutes as Ashington ought to have gone in front but then found themselves a goal behind. In the 13th minute, a darting run by Brandon Slater, involving link up play with Ross and McGorrigan, gave the number seven a clear opening but his shot was held by goalkeeper Finn Hodgson.
Allotment countered and a through ball found Callum Larmouth who made no mistake, burying a left footer from eight yards inside Karl Dryden’s right hand post.
Midway through the period, a great ball down the right flank by Dominic Agnew found Slater but his cross was intercepted then a speculative effort from the left from all of 35 yards by Luke Salmon hit the frame of the goal with Hodgson well beaten.
In the 34th minute, Dryden had to be at his best to make a smart save diving to his left from Jacob Foster then right on the stroke of half time, a long diagonal ball by Tom Bramley found Slater but he blazed over.
Just short of the hour mark, Ashington got back on terms. Danny Anderson swung over a corner from the right and Bramley netted with a downward half volley from 12 yards.
Four minutes later, a great piece of skill by Ross saw him bamboozle two defenders and when he ventured into the box, he was brought down by Graham Williams. Ryan McGorrigan stepped up and sent Hodgson the wrong way from the spot to put the Colliers 2-1 up.
Dryden denied Baltazar then a shot on the turn from home substitute Dean Walker went just wide of the post.
But in another twist – and inside an eight minute period – Allotment turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead with their man of the moment Larmouth notching a hat-trick.
The centre forward had caused problems for the visiting rearguard and when the ball broke free to him, Larmouth hammered in the equaliser.
Then in the 86th minute, Anderson upended Baltazar in the area and Larmouth emphatically slotted home from the resultant penalty.
But there was still more action to come. In the fifth minute of time added on, Gilberto Chapim was sent off for a second yellow card then sixty seconds later, a drive by McGorrigan was blocked; substitute Max Cowburn touched the ball to Ross whose effort was flagged by the assistant to have crossed the line despite the efforts of the home defenders to keep it out.