Ashington vs Consett

By Brian Bennett

Ashington are through to the final of the Ebac Northern League Cup after deservedly edging a seven goal thriller against Consett at The dwmedia Stadium on Tuesday night.

The Colliers led 3-1 at the break and the Steelmen’s task became more difficult when they had Calvin Smith sent off on the hour.

But in a barnstorming finale, the visitors brought the game level with goals from Scott Heslop and an 83rd minute penalty from Colin Larkin.

However there was even more drama as Ashington striker Dean Briggs volleyed home two minutes later for what proved to be the winner.

The Colliers made a positive start and took the lead in the fifth minute when a corner on the left by Lewis Suddick was glanced on by Craig Spooner. ‘Keeper Kyle Hayes spilled the ball and skipper Ben Harmison pounced to turn in the rebound.

Consett drew level within three minutes when David Dowson headed the ball on for Carl Lawson who struck a terrific right footer from the edge of the box which went wide of ‘keeper Adam McHugh and just inside the post.

Ashington continued to probe. In the 20th minute, Bobby Taylor had a shot fisted away by Hayes and seconds later, Yannick Aziakonou played a delightful pass over the top of a defender to Jordan Summerly who advanced before sweeping the ball across Hayes with a controlled finish to put the Colliers 2-1 in front.

Back came Consett and after Lawson’s effort had been cleared off the line by Aziakonou at one end, Briggs picked up a loose ball five yards inside the Consett half, accelerated past a defender and slotted right footed into the far corner to make it 3-1.

And Ashington weren’t finished there either. On the half hour, Curtis Coppen won possession and laid the ball off for Briggs who spotted Hayes off his line and tried an audacious effort from just inside the Consett half which was not far off target.

Sixty seconds later, following a great move, Briggs narrowly failed to connect with a deep cross from the right by Liam Doyle.

Early doors after the break, Doyle made an important tackle in the box to thwart Larkin then Harmison played the ball into the path of Briggs whose 25 yarder was parried away by Hayes.

On the hour, the visitors were reduced to ten men when Smith fouled Summerly just over the half way line and referee Kieran Downey brandished the red card to the Consett defender.

In the 64th minute, Ashington missed out on a double opportunity to make it 4-1 when Doyle was the supplier of another cross from the right where Briggs and Taylor both had shots blocked by Hayes then Briggs had a centre cleared off the line by Alex Francis.

However in the 73rd minute, slack marking from a Consett corner on the left allowed Heslop a free header which he buried past McHugh.

Ten minutes later, a challenge by Doyle on Consett substitute Dale Pearson saw referee Downey point to the spot and Larkin stepped up to send McHugh the wrong way for the equaliser.

But the Colliers rallied superbly from the kick off to regain the lead in sensational fashion when that man Briggs – playing against his former side – took a pass from Spooner to volley inside the corner wide of Hayes.

However with 20 seconds of stoppage time remaining, McHugh crucially clutched onto a goal bound shot from Heslop before the final whistle sparked off scenes of jubilation from the home supporters.

After the final whistle, Consett defender Darren Holden was sent off for the use of foul and abusive language.

Ashington’s opponents in the final will be Sunderland Ryhope CW or Newcastle Benfield who meet in the other semi final on Saturday April 23.

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Ashington vs Thornaby

By Brian Bennett

A goal just past the hour mark by substitute Jamie Davis clinched Thornaby all three points from this Ebac Northern League first division encounter at The dwmedia Stadium on Saturday.

Davis – who was introduced for the start of the second half – received a sidewards pass from Craig Hutchinson before burying a right foot effort past home ‘keeper Adam McHugh.

However the goal lit the touch paper as the clash developed into a feisty affair after what had previously been a very ordinary end of season contest.

Two minutes after Davis had struck, Ben Sampson found Dean Briggs down the left flank and after cutting inside, the midfielder’s shot from a tight angle was held at the post by ‘keeper Quinaceo Hunt.

When play switched, Thornaby’s Craig Hutchinson was clean through with only McHugh to beat but his shot was beaten away by the stopper.

Ashington manager Ian Skinner brought on the pacy Jordan Lashley for Yannick Aziakonou but Lashley had only been on the field four minutes when he went down the right wing only to be sent sprawling by a late tackle from Nathan Guru.

Referee Darren Williams consulted with his assistant before brandishing a red card to the Teessiders defender.

However for the remainder of the game Ashington failed to make the extra man count and only carved out a minimum of opportunities.

Sampson was again the provider finding Briggs who cut along the by-line but saw his shot came back off the post.

Craig Spooner struck a free-kick from 30 yards which was spilled by Hunt but the ‘keeper pounced to grab the rebound just ahead of Ben Harmison.

A deep cross by Briggs saw Spooner just miss out at the far post and in stoppage time an effort from Liam Doyle was held by Hunt.

Then in the fifth minute of time added on, Elliott Beddow had a shot pushed over by McHugh.

In the first period, Ashington had made inroads from kick off as Briggs found Spooner down the flank but the number seven’s cross was too high for his team mates in the penalty area.

Spooner produced an instinctive piece of skill when he flicked the ball over his head to go past a defender but dragged a right footer wide from the edge of the area.

In a rare raid by the visitors, Joe Pickett stroked past the upright but even though Ashington were sloppy in possession they still fashioned four chances.

Sampson had two opportunities, driving the first from distance but straight into Hunt’s midriff and after a patient build up, placing a right foot shot wide.

Hunt saved with his legs to deny Doyle then shortly before half time, Doyle crossed but Spooner spurned a great opening, firing over from eight yards.

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Ashington vs Guisborough Town

Br Brian Bennett

Ashington marched into the semi finals of the Division One Cup on Tuesday night after brushing Guisborough Town aside at The dwmedia Stadium.

The Colliers will now host Consett next Tuesday (April 12) with a place in the final for the winners.

A quickfire double from Craig Spooner early in the contest set the Colliers on their way and although Priorymen skipper Joseph Bartliff reduced the arrears five minutes before the break with a stunning effort, Ben Sampson’s first goal of the season – which made the scoreline 3-1 – could not have come at a better time.

The Wansbeck outfit deserved their success on the night and banished the blues after losing heavily 6-1 at home against the Teessiders in their Ebac Northern League first division clash recently.

The only downside on the night for Ian Skinner’s side was the dismissal of Luke Salmon. The midfielder – who had already been cautioned on the half hour for a challenge towards the half way line – needlessly erred again with only two minutes of the 90 remaining and was shown a straight red card by referee Kirk Freeth.

That apart, Ashington were in the mood right from the start as they kicked into the teeth of a strong wind. Indeed skipper Ben Harmison – who despite wearing the number six shirt played up front – had the ball in the net after only four minutes following a free-kick by Dean Briggs but the goal was ruled out for offside.

In the Colliers next raid, Ben Sampson charged through the middle before laying the ball off to Spooner whose low right footer was held by Guisborough ‘keeper Robert Dean.

The visitors failed to heed the warning and within the space of three minutes, Spooner not only gave his side the lead but also added a second – with both goals coming from a similar distance.

The first on 14 minutes stemmed from another free kick from the left which was pumped towards the far post by Briggs and when the ball broke to Spooner, he fired home from the edge of the area.

Spooner’s second was even better. Liam Doyle and Sampson linked neatly down the right flank and when the ball was played inside, Spooner glided past his marker before striking a superb left footer from 20 yards which left Dean helpless.

It was just the start Ashington had been looking for and in the 21st minute, Briggs found Harmison at the far post and when he pulled the ball back, Spooner came close to completing a hat-trick as his effort drifted narrowly wide.

Minutes later, another restart by Briggs was held by Dean diving to his right but as the half wore on, the visitors served notice that this cup quarter final was far from over.

In the 37th minute, Cole Kiernan almost pulled one back after a brilliant piece of skill. He received a pass some 25 yards out and instinctively teed the ball up for himself before striking a right foot volley which whistled inches past the post with Ashington ‘keeper Adam McHugh rooted to the spot.

However four minutes later, skipper Bartliff brought his side back into the contest with a sublime effort. The ball was played across from the left where Bartliff squeezed a volley from 22 yards between McHugh and the upright.

Early in the second period, Benjamin Jackson fired wide before there was action at both ends of the field within the matter of minutes.

Just before the hour mark, Spooner turned on a sixpence but saw his left footed shot held by Dean. Shortly afterwards, Yannick Aziakonou played the ball up to Harmison who flicked on for Salmon but he was also denied by Dean.

When play switched, Jackson – up in the attack again – saw his goalbound shot saved by the legs of McHugh.

However, midway through the half, Ashington got the cushion of a two goal lead. Briggs played the ball into the area where Sampson’s initial shot was blocked but the ricochet ran straight into the path of the home midfielder who side footed inside the far post, wide of Dean.

Seconds later, Jordan Summerly went close to a fourth after cutting inside from the left and driving just wide.

Ashington managed the game and kept Guisborough at Bay – but with time running out, the Colliers were reduced to ten men after Salmon’s indiscretion.

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Ashington vs Newton Aycliffe

By Brian Bennett

Two goals in the first half from striker Liam Jarvie condemned Ashington to a fourth consecutive league defeat – and third in a row on their home ground – as Newton Aycliffe became the latest outfit to leave Woodhorn Lane with easy pickings on Saturday.

Until recently, the Colliers had been having a decent season and at one stage they were even one win away from being second top of the first division of the Ebac Northern League. However they had also leaked far too many goals on their travels as they conceded five at West Auckland, Thornaby and Whickham and four at Crook Town.

Now their home record has come under scrutiny – and when Ian Skinner’s side go to face basement side Billingham Town on Saturday (April 2), they’ll be glad to see the back of March.

The Wansbeck side had suffered only three defeats on home soil all season in 15 outings – until this month when Seaham Red Star, Guisborough Town and Newton Aycliffe have all claimed maximum points.

However, the recurring theme is that Ashington not only give goals away – they gift wrap them as well – and such was the case on a beautiful spring day at The dwmedia Stadium on Saturday.

There was little to choose between the two sides early doors in what was a very cagey opening – until the tenth minute when the Colliers allowed Jarvie to charge through the middle and plant a right footer from the edge of the area, wide of ‘keeper Adam McHugh.

On the quarter hour, Aycliffe ‘keeper Adam Pickford touched over a goalbound free-kick from 25 yards by Max Cowburn then skipper Ben Harmison played the ball sideways for Danny Anderson to drive wide.

Jordan Lashley, Dean Briggs and Cowburn then combined but the latter directed his effort over the bar.

On what was National non-league day, the game was flat and lack lustre with no real tempo to it – but two minutes before the interval, the visitors doubled their advantage.

Anderson was caught in possession and although the midfielder chased back to make a tackle on Jarvie in the area, he was penalised for a foul with Jarvie sending McHugh the wrong way from the resultant spot kick.

Within the opening minute of the second period, Lashley fired off target from distance then Briggs released Ben Sampson who scooped the ball wide.

There was more intensity from the home side but another promising move fizzled out after Liam Doyle and Anderson had played a one-two with the full back over running the ball.

However in the 65th minute, a key turning point arrived when Briggs missed a sitter to reduce the arrears. He seized on a back-pass and side stepped the advancing Pickford but with an open goal at his mercy, under hit his effort which allowed Aycliffe skipper Aaron Brown to clear the ball off the line.

Pre match Skinner had been boosted with Sampson and Tom Bramley both declaring themselves fit – the latter after being side lined for over six months – and midway through the half, Skinner rolled the dice by throwing Bramley into the fray at centre back and pushing Harmison up front.

The move paid dividends with Harmison giving Ashington a presence up front and causing problems for the visiting back four.

And in the 81st minute, it was Harmison who halved the deficit firing home after Jamie Hanson had unselfishly pulled the ball back.

Referee Graeme Hopper remained unmoved after the Colliers had three separate shouts for a penalty – two for handball and the other for a foul on Hanson – then in the fifth minute of time added on, McHugh pushed the ball out to deny Andrei-Vasile Ardelean.

Photo Gallery: Ian Brodie

26 March 2022 - Ashington AFC v. Newton Aycliffe FC

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Ashington vs Guisborough Town

By Brian Bennett

Striker Cole Kiernan netted a hat-trick as Guisborough hit Ashington for six at The dwmedia Stadium on Saturday.

At the same time, the Colliers picked up an unwanted treble of their own – a third consecutive league defeat – in what was a mistake ridden as well as an abject performance in front of their own fans.

The reverse was Ashington’s heaviest home defeat since October 2020 when they went down 6-1 against Hebburn Town in a season which was later curtailed.

Ian Skinner’s side went into the contest fielding a makeshift back four with Yannick Aziakonou and new signing Owen Gourley in the centre of defence.

Apart from a win at Thornaby in the Division One Cup, the Wansbeck outfit have recently nosedived in form but after they made a decent start on Saturday, no-one saw this level of performance or scoreline coming.

Early doors, Guisborough’s Ben Jackson cut inside and his rasping drive was fisted away by home ‘keeper Karl Dryden.

Ashington responded with a delicate flick by Bobby Taylor finding Liam Doyle down the right flank but his cross was intercepted.

Two minutes later Lewis Suddick and Taylor combined on the counter but when the latter centred, Craig Spooner missed his connection.

Again a good move started off by Gourley’s free-kick and also involving Danny Anderson, Paul Robinson and Jordan Summerly ended with a disappointing cross.

Midway through the period, came a key turning point. Anderson and Robinson worked a short corner on the left and when the former laid the ball off square, Spooner’s fizzing 20 yarder was repelled by ‘keeper Robert Dean.

Two minutes later and Ashington were on their slippery slope. They failed to deal with a long ball played forward with Louis Johnson sweeping a right footer wide of Dryden from 12 yards.

Nicholas Hood placed a header a yard past the upright before Kiernan got the first of his treble on the half hour. Dryden and Summerly got into a mix up and when Johnson nipped in, he pulled the ball back for Kiernan who slotted home.

The Colliers had a great chance to reduce the arrears minutes later. Dean Briggs found Suddick through the middle but he toe poked the ball straight at Dean.

Five minutes after the break, another chance went begging as Briggs delivered a cross from the right but Suddick’s header was directed straight at Dean.

In the 51st minute, the game was effectively over after the home side had lost possession. Johnson whipped the ball across for Kiernan to hammer in.

On the hour, both sides were reduced to ten men. Ashington’s Robinson was red carded after a tackle on the half way line and in the aftermath, Keelan Wright-Simpson – who had been booked just prior to the interval – was shown a second yellow.

Ten minutes after being introduced, Guisborough sub Sam Webster’s effort from the edge of the box went across Dryden and inside the top corner to make it 4-0.

Ashington pulled a goal back on 65 minutes when sub Jordan Lashley slotted the ball through for Suddick who was sent sprawling inside the area.

Referee Zac Kennard-Kettle pointed to the spot and Suddick sent Dean the wrong way.

But minutes later, the Priorymen restored their four goals advantage when Karl Ross fouled Johnson in the box and Kiernan completed his hat-trick from the resultant penalty.

And things went from bad to worse five minutes from time when Webster got his second squirming a low left footer from 20 yards through the narrowest of gaps between Dryden and his post.

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Ashington vs Seaham Red Star

By Brian Bennett

Jordan Lashley’s stoppage time strike came too late for a ten man Ashington side to salvage anything from their Ebac Northern League first division clash against Seaham Red Star at The dwmedia Stadium on Saturday.

After turning in their worst display of the season the previous weekend which culminated in a 4-2 defeat at Northallerton, Ian Skinner’s side responded superbly in midweek at Thornaby with a solitary goal by Luke Salmon booking them a quarter final place in the First division Cup.

However, playing at home for the first time in three weeks, Ashington’s performance plummeted again with boss Skinner later labelling the display as ‘frustrating.’

The Colliers were caught cold and consequently left chasing the game in the opening phase of the contest as two goals inside the first seven minutes from Danny Sayer put the Star firmly in control of proceedings.

His first came in the fifth minute when Seaham forced a corner on the left and when the ball was swung in, it was flicked on to Sayer who headed home at the back post from close range.

Two minutes later, a sweeping counter attacking move resulted in the second as the ball was switched out to the left where the over lapping Sayer slotted his effort across home ‘keeper Karl Dryden and inside the far corner.

Ashington’s first threat came in the 11th minute when a long ball from Danny Anderson aimed for Luke Salmon saw Seaham ‘keeper Andrew Jennison get there first to punch out.

Things could have got worse for the home side too as Thomas Bott stroked wide following a free-kick and after Ashington’s Curtis Coppen had been sent to the sin bin for ten minutes, Louis Robinson had the ball in the net but was flagged offside.

The Colliers showed signs of improvement after the break and substitute Craig Spooner played the ball through to Dean Briggs who lobbed narrowly over the advancing Jennison from the edge of the area.

A cross from Ashington’s Anderson clipped the bar but chances were few and far between.

Sayer fired over following a corner on the right then just past the hour mark, Seaham striker Adam Lennox was sin binned.

With quarter of an hour remaining of normal time left, Ashington’s afternoon went from bad to worse when having used all three substitutes, they were forced to play out the remaining time with ten men when Adam Johnson was forced off through injury.

However, in stoppage time, they halved the deficit when skipper Ben Harmison – pushed up front as a striker – glanced on for Lashley who hammered the ball in left footed from 18 yards.

The goal was too little too late and the result saw the Star complete a league double over the Colliers after recording a 2-1 victory at Seaham Town Park in October.

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Ashington vs Bishop Auckland

By Brian Bennett

Ashington’s home form came up trumps again as two goals in four minutes from Bobby Taylor and Lewis Suddick during the second half saw the Colliers deservedly pick up three points against Bishop Auckland at The dwmedia Stadium on Saturday.

Before the start of the campaign, manager Ian Skinner had challenged his players to turn Woodhorn Lane into a fortress – and after being forced to do things the hard way after going behind to a wonder strike shortly after the interval by Bishops Auckland’s Matty Waters, the Wansbeck outfit hit back in fine style.

The quickfire double by Taylor and Suddick was just the tonic they needed too following the disappointment of a 5-3 reverse the previous week at Whickham and spurred on by the encouragement and noise generated by their supporters in a crowd which swelled just over the 400 mark, they recorded their 11th victory on home turf from 15 league outings.

Ashington had had a convincing 5-2 win over the Bishops in mid September but since then, the Heritage Park outfit have brought in former Guisborough Town and Whitby Town boss Chris Hardy as manager who has changed their fortunes and they went into this showdown unbeaten in four outings.

On a sticky surface, there was little in the way of free flowing football in the opening half.

But it was Ashington who went close in the eighth minute when Taylor – one of six changes in the side – struck a right footer just over after good work by Thomas Kalthoeber and Craig Spooner.

What was to emerge as the move of the period arrived a few minutes later when the home side worked the ball neatly through the midfield but Kalthoeber’s pass for Adam Johnson had too much weight on it and the ball ran out for a goal kick.

A dangerous looking cross by Bishops left back Liam Miller was headed away to safety by Luke Salmon then a patient build up by the Colliers saw a goalbound effort from Johnson tipped away for a corner by ‘keeper Nicky Liversedge.

Salmon, Kalthoeber and Suddick linked to set up Johnson but his cross was blocked then play switched to the other end and a promising run by Marcus Giles was halted when Curtis Coppen made a brilliant tackle inside the area.

Suddick fired narrowly wide from distance with Liversedge rooted to the spot and the last action of the half came when Kalthoeber – who had been heavily involved down the right flank – shot well wide after a corner on the right.

Ashington were rocked at the start of the second half as the visitors went in front – after only 18 seconds.

Coppen won a header but the ball bounced off Waters and fell perfectly for the striker who unleashed a dipping half volley from 20 yards wide of ‘keeper Adam McHugh and just inside the far post.

As Ashington looked for a response, Kalthoeber was again in the thick of the action and after showing some skill inside the Bishops penalty area where he clipped the ball over the head of a defender, he drove wide of the far post.

However the Wansbeck side turned the game on its head with two well crafted goals in quick succession.

The equaliser arrived in the 64th minute as Kalthoeber’s throw-in on the right went over the top of a defender and after work by Johnson , the centre forward rolled the ball across for Taylor who with the outside of his foot, steered the ball wide of Liversedge and inside the post.

Kalthoeber was also involved in the goal which put Ashington ahead and which proved to be the winner as he advanced into the area and laid the ball off for Suddick who instinctively swept home with the inside of his foot into the far corner.

Liversedge pushed the ball aside to deny Spooner then seconds after being introduced as a substitute, Dean Briggs had a glorious chance to give his side a two goals cushion.

Johnson played the ball across but Briggs stroked it wide with only the ‘keeper to beat.

Briggs went close with a left footer flashing just wide then ten minutes from time the home side survived a scramble following a cross from the left by Miller. McHugh was forced to make a superb save before Yannick Aziakonou cleared the ball off the line.

Liversedge thwarted Briggs again but despite the aforementioned late scare, the final whistle brought a welcome and merited victory for the Colliers.

19 February 2022 - Ashington AFC v. Bishop Auckland AFC

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Ashington vs West Allotment Celtic

By Brian Bennett

Ashington’s Ben Harmison and Craig Spooner both hit doubles as the Colliers turned on the style before picking up maximum points against West Allotment Celtic at The dwmedia Stadium on Saturday.

The Wansbeck outfit did things the hard way too after conceding early on – but kicking into the teeth of a very strong wind as well as driving rain in the first half, they hit back immediately and played some scintillating football – much to the delight of their supporters in a splendid crowd of 301 who did their best to shelter from the elements.

It was crystal clear from minute one that the wind was going to have an impact on proceedings – yet a thrilling first half ended with the home side holding onto a slender 3-2 advantage.

The North Tynesiders took the lead on the quarter hour. From a right sided free kick, Jacob Forster’s header went across home ‘keeper Karl Dryden before hitting the post and Mikel Thompson slotted home the rebound.

However Ashington’s riposte was to draw level with a minute. Spooner sprayed the ball out wide to Liam Doyle who delivered a pinpoint cross which was met by skipper Harmison who headed powerfully home from six yards.

The Colliers got on top and went 2-1 up in the 26th minute with the lively Spooner applying the finishing touch.

The ex North Shields midfielder began the move half way inside the Allotment half again finding Doyle on the right who in turn played the ball to Lewis Suddick. Suddick crossed low for Spooner who got in front of a defender and clipped home a side footed effort across Allotment’s debutant ‘keeper Reece Monaghan and just inside the post.

Minutes later, a restart from Suddick was flicked on by Spooner which caused problems for the visiting rearguard but Thomas Kalthoeber was denied at the far post then the visitors kept the ball out after a goalmouth scramble.

Four minutes before the interval, Ashington got a third. Suddick’s free kick found Harmison who prodded the ball goalwards. Kalthoeber and a defender then got touches before Harmison had the final say netting from close range.

However, barely sixty seconds later, the Colliers backed off allowing Matthew Hayton to advance through the middle and steer a low effort from 20 yards wide of Dryden to make it 3-2.

If Spooner’s first goal had been the culmination of a well worked team effort, his second – which came three minutes after the interval – was individual brilliance.

He received the ball, advanced then curled a stunning left footer from 22 yards which left Monaghan grasping thin air before the ball screamed inside the top corner.

Dean Briggs had a shot held by Monaghan before a header by Jack Errington following a corner was cleared off the line by Doyle and Dryden.

The visitors then suffered a blow when Callum Larmouth – who scored a hat-trick in the corresponding fixture and 3-3 draw in late August – pulled up with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.
Ashington continued to press and in the 63rd minute, came close to a fourth. Great link up play down the left flank between Paul Robinson and Jordan Summerly saw the latter pull the ball back but Briggs’s shot was cleared off the line by Michael Leech and Doyle’s fizzing low cross just eluded his team mates arriving at the far post.

Two minutes later, a 25 yards free-kick by Spooner was superbly pushed over the bar by Monaghan then Robinson and Summerly combined again to set up another opportunity for Briggs who was also thwarted by the ‘keeper as he palmed the ball to safety.

The players were adapting well on a gluepot of a pitch but ten minutes from time, Allotment were reduced to ten men. Substitute Sam Bryan – who was introduced on the hour mark and who was cautioned five minutes later – received a second yellow card from referee Mark Ryan following a tackle on sub Karl Ross.

In the closing stages another home sub Adam Johnson had a left footer from the edge of the area parried then collected by Monaghan before the final whistle saw Ashington – who went into this contest after back to back defeats against Sunderland Ryhope CW and North Shields – collect a richly deserved victory.

05 February 2022 - Ashington AFC v. West Allotment Celtic FC

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Ashington vs North Shields

By Brian Bennett

There was a feeling of déjà vu for Ashington at The dwmedia Stadium on Tuesday night when high flying North Shields took all three points courtesy of a strike by Chris McDonald midway through the first half.

The result saw the Robins return to second top of the Ebac Northern League’s first division whilst the Colliers went down to their second narrow defeat inside four days.

However as at Sunderland Ryhope CW on Saturday, the Wansbeck outfit deserved to take some reward from the contest for their overall performance over the 90 minutes.

But again as on Wearside, for all their patient build up play and well constructed moves, it was the final third which ultimately proved to be their downfall.

Ashington skipper Ben Harmison was a late withdrawal due to work commitments so manager Ian Skinner brought Thomas Kalthoeber in at centre back for his first full start of the season whilst former Shields player Craig Spooner was handed the captains armband.

In front of another bumper attendance of 666, the visitors – who are still battling on three fronts with the League, Buildbase FA Vase and Techflow Northumberland Senior Cup – got off to a sensational start as they took the lead after only 70 seconds through their in-form and hotshot striker Dan Wilson.
Wilson got possession and – allowed time by the home side – struck a wonder goal from 20 yards with his left foot which arced wide of home ‘keeper Karl Dryden and just inside the upright.

Ashington’s first effort came on 14 minutes following neat work down the left involving Bobby Taylor and Dean Briggs which ended with the latter lashing the ball over from distance.

Four minutes later, the Colliers drew level with a gloriously constructed goal. Briggs switched play from right to left with a sublime pass which found the overlapping Jordan Summerly who advanced to the by line before pulling the ball across for Lewis Suddick who fired in from close range to record his second goal in as many matches.

However, a significant turning point arrived in the 22nd minute. Briggs again switched the play on this occasion to the right and when Craig Spooner returned the ball into his path, a curler by Briggs was superbly pushed away by ‘keeper Oliver Marshall.

Play switched immediately with the visitors being awarded a free kick and when the ball found McDonald on the left, the full back’s low right foot shot crept past an unsighted Dryden and just inside the post.

The Colliers, after being guilty of careless passing early in the game, improved considerably and had a lot of possession. On the half hour Suddick tried his luck with a 25 yarder which was held at the second attempt by Marshall.

Two minutes later, only the woodwork prevented Shields from extending their lead. A corner on the right swung in by Cartwright fell to Gary Ormston whose effort struck the post and rebounded to safety.

Ashington continued to press for an equaliser before half time and after Marshall had held an effort from Adam Johnson, Ben Sampson and Spooner combined to set up Taylor but he blazed his shot well over.
Incredibly, the second half was devoid of a notable chance until the 73rd minute when the Shieldsmen broke but Wilson clipped wide. Seconds later, at the other end, Marshall fielded an effort from Johnson.

Then with 12 minutes left on the clock, David Robinson seized onto a back pass from Curtis Coppen which lacked pace but the midfielder was denied by a great block by Dryden.

Home boss Ian Skinner made three substitutions and in the final stages, sent Coppen up front. And in the fourth minute of stoppage time, Ashington had shouts for a penalty turned aside by referee Lewis Reynolds after Coppen went to ground under challenge inside the area.

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Ashington vs Penrith

By Brian Bennett

Ashington left it late – before they kick started the New Year with a win against basement side Penrith at The dwmedia Stadium on Saturday.

Trailing early on to a Jamie Armstrong penalty, the Wansbeck outfit eventually equalised on the hour through Jordan Lashley but it was not until the dying embers of the game that the home side wrapped up the points with goals from Adam Johnson and Dean Briggs.

The match – played out on a heavy pitch at Woodhorn Lane – was only one of three which went ahead in the first division of the Ebac Northern League and the victory saw the Colliers leapfrog over Newton Aycliffe to claim sixth place in the table.

Both sides (Ashington and Penrith) had been inactive for three weeks over the festive period but there was no sign of lethargy as they went toe to toe with each other in a contest which never dropped in tempo throughout.

The Colliers made inroads in the ninth minute when the ball came in from the right flank and Penrith ‘keeper Aaran Taylor made a double save from a header Paul Robinson and the follow up by Ben Sampson.

In their next raid, Johnson fired over but the home crowd were silenced in the 13th minute when against the run of play, Charlie Birch surged into the Ashington area and went tumbling under a combined challenge from Liam Doyle and Yannick Aziakonou.

Referee Chris Joyce immediately pointed for a penalty and Armstrong sent Karl Dryden the wrong way with a coolly taken spot kick to the ‘keeper’s right,

Ashington exerted pressure and had a quarter hour spell of dominance. Sampson blasted over; an in-swinging corner from Lashley clipped the base of the post whilst Craig Spooner and Lashley snatched at further opportunities.

Penrith defended well and in the final third of the period, it was Dryden who prevented the Cumbrians from extending their lead.

In one break, Matthew Story was through until a superb retrieving tackle by Aziakonou inside the area averted the danger.

Shortly before the interval, Max Brown wriggled clear but was denied by the sprawling Dryden then the stopper parried another effort from the centre forward who missed a sitter somehow putting the rebound wide.

After the break, Robinson cut in from the flank and his shot hit the upright with Lashley having a shot blocked.

It was a day of frustration for the home side but they kept up the pressure and were patient – and eventually drew level with a brilliantly worked goal.

Not for the first time in the match, Jordan Summerly and Robinson linked superbly down the left and the latter sent over a precision cross which was headed home at the far post by Lashley.

The game then developed into a cat and mouse affair with Ashington going all out in search of a winner whilst their opponents posed a threat on the break.

However, several key aspects emerged in the final 20 minutes.

On a stamina sapping pitch, home manager Ian Skinner introduced fresh legs at different stages sending on Briggs, Bobby Taylor and Danny Anderson withdrawing Aziakonou, Lashley and Doyle whilst in the 75th minute, Penrith were reduced in number when Matthew Moynan – booked in the first half – upended Johnson and was sent off for a second yellow card offence.

Briggs fashioned an opportunity as he cut inside but lashed over and with the ten men defending resolutely, it looked as if the visitors were going to hold out for a point,

But five minutes from time, Johnson unlocked the door with a piece of sheer brilliance. He received the ball into his feet, spun sharply then whipped a low drive across Taylor and inside the far corner.

In the last minute of the 90, Ashington must have thought they had sealed the result when on a swift counter, substitute Taylor had a shot blocked and Briggs made no mistake blasting home the rebound to make it 3-1.

In time added on, a curling free kick by Birch thudded against the post but Ashington’s riposte saw Curtis Coppen play a great ball forward where Robinson and Summerly featured again before the ball was eventually blocked on the goal-line.

08 January 2022 - Ashington AFC v. Penrith AFC

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