By Brian Bennett
A first half double inside eight minutes by striker Kyle Fryatt gave Sunderland RCA a shock victory at LGV Park on Saturday.
The home outfit went into the clash on the back of eight straight defeats but they deservedly claimed all three points and at the same time burst Ashington’s bubble after five consecutive victories.
However with Bishop Auckland idle as their match away to Penrith was postponed and West Allotment Celtic bringing Whitley Bay’s long unbeaten run to an end with a 6-1 success, the Colliers missed the opportunity to move into second place in the Ebac Northern League’s first division table.
Ashington went into the contest without strikers, Ben Harmison, Lee Mason and Dan Maguire and on another heavy surface, the game itself was anything but a spectacle.
Yet Ian Skinner’s side fashioned opportunities inside the opening 20 minutes which saw them dominate possession.
The first came on seven minutes when Paul Robinson set up Craig Spooner who fired narrowly off target then the latter turned provider as he slipped a pass through for Ben Sampson but his low drive was held by home ‘keeper Keaton Marrs.
Adam Johnson had a third chance after receiving from Spooner but after taking on Max Allen, he whipped a left footer over from 14 yards.
Goals change games – and with their first real threat in the 24th minute, RCA took the lead.
Following a throw in, Mark Davison’s first time hooked flick-on saw Fryatt time his run to perfection. He raced clear of the visitors defence and after bearing down on goal, the forward coolly and quite exquisitely executed a right foot chip over the advancing Karl Dryden.
Two minutes later, Sampson and Liam Smith combined to set up Johnson but the striker lifted his effort over the bar.
In the 32nd minute, RCA doubled their lead after an error by Dryden. The ‘keeper’s clearance dropped straight to Fryatt who moved inside, shrugged off a challenge then buried a right footer inside the bottom corner.
And four minutes before half time, the picture could have got even worse for the Colliers when Davison headed the ball into the path of Andre Bennett who netted with a full blooded volley from 12 yards but the goal was chalked off for a handling offence.
After the break, Ashington pieced together two identical moves inside the space of sixty seconds.
From the first, excellent play from Robinson saw him cross to the far post where Sampson’s side footed shot went across the face of the goal.
Then it was full back Jordan Summerly who found Spooner in the same place only for the midfielder’s effort to hit the post.
But just before the midway point of the half, Ashington must have known that it just wasn’t going to be their day when Johnson cut across from right to left and unleashed a goalbound drive from 20 yards. Marrs moved one way then struck out a foot to divert the ball away to safety.
Two minutes later, Andrew Cartwright snatched at a chance firing wide after the ball had rebounded back into his path from a defender then towards the end, Johnson met a right wing corner from Cartwright but his header was directed straight at Marrs.