Thornaby vs Ashington

By Brian Bennett

An early goal from Luke Salmon proved to be the defining moment as Ashington marched through to the quarter finals of the Ebac Northern League First Division Cup after a hard fought but deserved victory over Thornaby at Teesdale Park on Wednesday night.

However, the visitors win came at a cost as central defender Thomas Kalthoeber was stretchered off on the hour with a hamstring injury.

The clash between the hosts – second in the table – against fourth placed Ashington was never a classic. However, it was a double riposte by Ian Skinner’s side who were completely out of sorts last weekend when they went down 4-2 at Northallerton, and who were well beaten 5-0 by Thornaby in the league clash between the two clubs on Teesside in early November.

But ultimately it was the energetic Salmon who came up trumps on the night, nipping in at the far post between a defender and goalkeeper Quinaceo Hunt to head home a left footed cross by Adam Johnson.

His moment of glory arrived in the 13th minute and could not have come at a more apt time for the Colliers who had been under the cosh from the first whistle.

Thornaby were slick and incisive as they moved the ball around with confidence and in the third minute, a dangerous looking cross from the right by Elliott Beddow was pushed away to safety by ‘keeper Karl Dryden.

The pressure continued and later skipper Lee Moore fired over from the edge of the area after another flowing move.

But the game changed in an instant when Salmon pounced to put his side in front.

All of a sudden the goal settled the Colliers down and looking solid as a defensive unit, they went on to be the better side in the opening half.

They had chances to add to the lead too.

Midway through the period, the excellent Jordan Summerly and Salmon combined down the left and when the latter crossed, the ball was cleared for a corner.

Ashington went closer in the 33rd minute when Salmon – in the thick of the action – and Liam Doyle linked with Doyle’s right footer missing the far post by inches.

Two minutes later Salmon won the ball back in midfield and fed Johnson who turned but his left footed effort went narrowly wide.

And just before the break, Doyle found Johnson who fired just past the post with a first time shot.

Early doors after the break, it was the visitors who threatened again.

Within the first minute, Johnson cut inside and unleashed a left footer wide then Salmon met a cross from the right by Ben Sampson but headed wide of the near post.

On the hour mark, Craig Hutchinson and Luke Hogan linked well and just as the latter was about to shoot, Kalthoeber made a brilliant last ditch tackle. However in doing so, the defender was injured and was replaced by Yannick Aziakonou.

In the final half hour, there was plenty of endeavour from both sides but the only real chance fell Ashington’s way when Sampson played the ball out wide to Danny Anderson and from his cross, Salmon headed over.


Thornaby vs Ashington

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.


Thornaby vs Ashington