By Brian Bennett
Ashington turned in their worst performance of the season on Saturday when they were toppled by Ebac Northern League first division strugglers Northallerton Town at The Calvert Stadium.
What’s more the North Yorkshire outfit – fighting for first division survival – deserved their victory albeit in a match which was sub standard as it failed to sparkle and provided little in the way of entertainment for the crowd of 102.
Indeed the only piece of quality came in the latter stages when Shaun Ryder scored a ‘worldly’ for his sides third goal after unleashing a rocket from distance which left Colliers ‘keeper Adam McHugh helpless.
The result – as well as the display – brought third placed Ashington back down to earth with a massive bump following Wednesday’s 4-1 win against Redcar Athletic whilst despite claiming the three points, ‘Allerton remain in the bottom three after securing what was only their second home success of the season.
Ashington started brightly with Jordan Summerly finding Bobby Taylor whose low drive from 20 yards was held by ‘keeper Aleks Petrovic and later in the half Thomas Kalthoeber’s pass to Jordan Lashley saw the striker lay the ball off to Lewis Suddick who shot wide of the upright.
Suddick was also involved as he played the ball across the face of the goal with no team-mate on hand to apply the finishing touch and on the half hour, a centre by Max Cowburn was side footed wide by Taylor.
However, those incidents were spasmodic flashes during a half where the Colliers lacked in fluency and urgency.
Northallerton – who also produced little of note other than a shot by Dale Hopson which was touched around by McHugh – got their noses in front in the 39th minute following a cross from the right.
The ball fell to Joseph Hope who drove low across McHugh and into the far corner.
At the start of the second half, the visitors made inroads with Lashley and Taylor combining to set up Summerly whose cross was deflected behind for a corner then Lashley headed over following a free-kick.
Ashington’s slight improvement subsided and after a sizzling right footed drive from 22 yards by ‘Allerton’s Sean Chidanyika had flashed narrowly over, Michael Rae doubled their lead in the 75th minute, heading in from Hopson’s free-kick on the right.
But four minutes later, the game was back in the melting pot as Adam Johnson pulled one back.
Midway through the period, Colliers boss Ian Skinner had again made a triple substitution withdrawing Yannick Aziakonou, Cowburn and Taylor and introducing Paul Robinson, Johnson and Dean Briggs.
And following a through ball by skipper Ben Harmison, Briggs was involved as he set up Johnson who side footed home from close range.
However within two minutes, Ashington’s hopes of a comeback were dashed when Ryder restored Northallerton’s two goals lead.
The midfielder caught the ball perfectly with a right footer from just outside the box which flew past McHugh before crossing the line and hitting the back stanchion.
And in the 83rd minute Ashington’s day of misery got even worse as they lost possession in their opponents half. Northallerton hit them on the counter with substitute Luke Jones side footing the ball home after receiving a cross from the left.
In the fourth minute of stoppage time and with virtually the last kick of the match, Johnson found Suddick who tapped the ball home for Ashington’s second – but this was clearly an afternoon to forget for the side from Wansbeck.