By Brian Bennett
It was maybes just a coincidence that after the final whistle at Thornaby on Saturday the Monty Python classic hit ‘Always look on the bright side of life’ blared out over the PA system.
It was possibly to give the Ashington contingent some much needed cheer after the Colliers had suffered their second 5-0 defeat inside a fortnight following on from their outing at West Auckland.
At West, Ian Skinner’s outfit trailed by three goals at the interval. On Saturday, his side went into the dressing rooms at the interval with the same disadvantage. On both away journeys, the scoreline was harsh – but on this occasion, add into the mix that Ashington’s first half showing was poor.
They did improve after the break and went close when Craig Spooner smacked the woodwork – and they did pin Thornaby inside their own half for large periods – until two late goals turned a defeat into what appears to be a hammering.
However, the damage was done in the first 35 minutes – and coincided with the Colliers looking inexplicably leggy and laboured.
Thornaby took the game to their visitors, who suffered a double whammy midway through the period.
The opener had been on the cards but it came in unfortunate circumstances as Curtis Coppen could only turn the ball into his own net following a cross from the right by home captain Lee Moore.
The game had barely restarted when a flick by Craig Hutchinson set up Elliott Beddow on the edge of the area and he slid the ball into the bottom corner past the despairing hands of ‘keeper Adam McHugh.
In truth, it could have got worse as a cross by Reece Kenney flashed just past and Beddow drove wide of the far post.
Then on the 35 minutes mark, the Teessiders got their third after a neat move as they switched possession from right to left.
The ball was played out wide to Luke Hogan who picked his spot placing his effort wide of McHugh and inside the corner.
Ten minutes after the resumption, Paul Robinson found Spooner whose shot came back into play after thudding against the base of the post and then Robinson was not far away with a 25 yarder.
Ahead of the hour mark, Skinner introduced Max Cowburn and Luke Salmon and the substitutes combined shortly afterwards.
Cowburn picked out Salmon with a cross and the wing back had a header from 16 yards held by ‘keeper Joshua Mazfari.
Two minutes later, Ben Sampson was the supplier finding Salmon again but on this occasion, he stroked the ball wide.
And in a busy passage of play, Salmon’s next involvement was to flash the ball across the face of goal.
At the other end, McHugh had denied Hutchinson then after a free kick by substitute Joseph Scaife-Wheatley had narrowly missed the far post, Thornaby were reduced to ten men for a period of ten minutes when Beddow was sent to the sin bin by referee David Pill for dissent.
The Colliers pushed newly installed skipper Harmison up front to try and take advantage of the extra man and after Sampson was not far away with a cross-cum-shot, Harmison headed wide as he stretched to meet a cross by Jordan Summerly.
In the 87th minute following a corner on the left, Hutchinson headed home Thornaby’s fourth and then in stoppage time, sub Joe Pickett fired a low shot across McHugh and inside the bottom corner.