By Brian Bennett
Ashington’s run of three consecutive wins came to an end on Saturday when a late goal from substitute Denver Morris sealed all three points for Sunderland Ryhope CW.
However, Morris’s 80th minute volley was a bitter pill for the Colliers to swallow. Ian Skinner’s side completely bossed the second period and after trailing to a first half opener from Kyle Davis, deservedly equalised with a terrific strike from debutant Lewis Suddick.
But the recreation ground at Ryhope has turned into a bogey venue for the Wansbeck outfit who have failed to take a single point from four visits over the past six seasons.
Saturday’s game was billed as a top of the table clash in the Ebac Northern League’s first division but chances were few and far between in a first half which the home side dominated for the opening 25 minutes. Ian Skinner’s outfit grew into the game and gave as good as they got until the interval.
Early doors, James Ellis and Bobby Taylor lashed efforts over the bar for their respective sides before the 13th minute was certainly unlucky for Ashington as Ryhope took the lead with a scrappy goal.
Following a free-kick, the ball pinged around the penalty area until it found Davis at the far post who struck a low shot which took a deflection and nestled inside the net.
But within a minute, the visitors should have been terms when Liam Doyle played the ball down the right flank for Suddick.
The newcomer whipped over a brilliant cross which was met by Dean Briggs on the six yards box but he directed his header straight into the hands of home ‘keeper James Winter.
Midway through, Adam Johnson turned and curled wide after receiving from Doyle then the same two players linked to set up Suddick who clipped over from a tight angle.
Four minutes before the break, Yannick Aziakonou played a lovely diagonal pass out wide for Doyle but the full back delayed crossing the ball and was eventually blocked out.
Ashington started the second period in dominant fashion and with only 90 seconds on the clock, Taylor, Briggs and Doyle all combined to set up Suddick who headed over.
Five minutes in and it was the prominent Suddick whose pass put Briggs through with only Winter to beat. The number ten advanced but then hesitated and eventually his weak effort was blocked by the stopper.
Play switched to the other end and a shot from Ellis was pushed around the post by ‘keeper Karl Dryden – then just past the hour mark, Suddick got the Colliers back on terms.
Doyle and Johnson were involved in the move down the right flank and when the latter played the ball in for Suddick, the debutant made no mistake, drilling a right footer home.
It was all Ashington pressure now but the only chance they fashioned saw a shot by Johnson held by Winter.
Dryden was called into action pushing away a 30 yards free-kick by Ellis and from the resultant corner on the right, the ‘keeper brilliantly tipped over a header from Chris Trewick.
At the other end, Taylor had a shot turned aside by Winter – then what proved to be the winner arrived with ten minutes remaining. A deep cross from the left found Morris at the far post who struck a right foot volley inside the far corner.
In the closing stages, Ashington manager Ian Skinner made a triple substitution and also threw skipper and centre back Ben Harmison up front – and in the last minute of the 90, Harmison was involved in moves which ended with Briggs unable to find the target.