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


Tow Law Town vs Ashington

By Brian Bennett

A late penalty by Robbie Dale secured Ashington’s place in the first qualifying round of this season’s Emirates FA Cup for the first time in eight years.

Dale duly converted in the 83rd minute to book the Colliers their spot after what was a tricky contest against Tow Law at the Ironworks ground.

A difficult wind made conditions difficult and apart from two brilliant strikes – one for either side – Craig Spooner for Ashington and Ethan Bewley for the hosts, the cup tie was certainly not one which will remain in the minds of supporters for too long.

Chances were sparse – yet in a game which was a drab affair, two of the three goals were shrouded in controversy.

The Lawyers went into the clash after a tumultuous effort had seen them knock out Tadcaster Albion in the last round following a replay – and they could have taken the lead as early as the eighth minute when a header by Bewley was cleared off the line by Jordan Summerly.

But four minutes later, the visitors took the lead with yet another stunning strike by Spooner.

Following a corner, Darren Lough played the ball into the path of the midfielder who unleashed an unstoppable right footer from the edge of the area which left home ‘keeper Tom Orton helpless.

Within sixty seconds, Bewley struck over then from an Andrew Cartwright flag kick at the other end, Dean Briggs fired wide.

Tow Law drew level in the 35th minute. Ashington claimed that striker Adam Johnson was fouled just outside the home penalty area but play continued and when Bewley got possession, he let fly with a rasping effort from 20 yards which gave goalkeeper Karl Dryden no chance.

The first chance of the second period surfaced midway through the period when a long range effort from Spooner flashed just wide of Orton’s right hand post.

Then in the 75th minute, Ashington pieced together the best move of the entire match.

Summerly and substitute Paul Robinson worked the ball down the left in a swift one-two exchange and when the former crossed, Briggs placed his effort narrowly wide on the volley.

With seven minutes remaining, the Colliers broke down the right and when Cartwright went to ground inside the area, the assist flagged to indicate a penalty and referee Evan Culling pointed to the spot.

Tow Law disputed the decision but when the dust settled, it was an ice-cool Dale who stepped forward and scored, sending Orton the wrong way.

Two minutes form the end of normal time, Ashington had a great chance to put the game to bed when Summerly again supplied a cross from the left but Briggs’s effort crashed against the bar and was cleared to safety. 

It was back in the 2014-15 season when Ashington last reached the first qualifying round of the FA Cup. They drew 2-2 against Scarborough Athletic at home before losing the replay 1-0.

Photographs: Rachel McDonald and Keith Saint20 August 2022 - Tow Law Town FC v. Ashington AFC