Airey makes immediate impact as Ashington neat Penrith

Ashington v PenrithMidfielder Kyle Oliver takes on a Penrith defender during Ashington's 2-1 home win on Saturday. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com
Ashington v PenrithMidfielder Kyle Oliver takes on a Penrith defender during Ashington's 2-1 home win on Saturday. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com

New signing Phil Airey made a sensational impact after coming on as a second half substitute to spearhead an Ashington victory over Penrith.

Airey only met up with his new team-mates an hour before kick-off.

But with his side trailing to a Grant Davidson opener for the Cumbrians he was mobbed by them after he struck an equaliser, then was heavily involved as Glen Taylor scored the winner.

The Cumbrians had an opening after only four minutes as they caught Ashington on the counter attack and when the ball was played through, Jamie Pickthall was in on goal but home keeper Conor Grant stood firm and blocked his shot.

In the 18th minute, Lance McGlen played a one-two with Glen Taylor only for his inviting centre to fizz across the face of goal when only a touch was required.

Penrith then broke and it required a superb tackle by James Taylor to stop Davidson in his tracks.

So often, managers giving their post-match comments refer to missed chances as changing the course of the game. On Saturday, Middleton saw it happen to his own side - yet again.

Glen Taylor, put through by Andy Ferrell in the 24th minute with a one-on-one, appeared to have done everything right to break the deadlock until he looked on and saw his effort smack against the inside of the post and roll away to safety.

Some 36 seconds later the visitors were in front when tricky striker Davidson got possession and drove inside the corner from 16 yards.

But the score led to even more implications for the home side as James Taylor suffered a facial injury and although he continued until half-time, he was forced to retire and go to nearby Wansbeck General Hospital.

In fact it was a busy opening period for home physio Leanne Symonds, who was summoned onto the field three times in the opening half hour to administer treatment to Glen Taylor, Ben Christensen and James Taylor.

Five minutes after the score, Davidson was clear again but Grant made a crucial save to thwart him.

However, in the final ten minutes of the half, Ashington turned the screw only to be denied.

In the 38th minute, Kyle Downey must have thought he had unlocked the door but saw his stinging and goal bound left footer from the edge of the box magnificently pushed around one handed by keeper Joshua Richardson.

As at Newcastle Benfield in midweek, Ashington did not want the half to end and in the closing stages, Andrew Johnson had a volley blocked, then after a great move involving Christensen and a Johnson-Glen Taylor one-two, the skipper lifted his effort over the bar.

Within a minute of the second half commencing, Stephenson had the ball in the net but was whistled up for a handling offence.

Then Ashington’s frustration continued as they pieced together a lovely move involving Kyle Oliver, Glen Taylor and Richie Slaughter which ended with the latter’s cross being headed by Johnson straight into Richardson’s midriff.

In the 56th minute, Middleton threw newcomers Airey and Steven Shaw into the fray in a double substitution - and Airey’s perfect start began on the hour.

Lance McGlen’s long throw-in from the right caused consternation in the visitors rearguard and Airey punished them to the full as he drilled a low effort inside the near post.

Then 20 minutes from time, a through ball from Shaw found Airey whose drive was fumbled by Richardson with Glen Taylor on hand to gobble up the rebound and fire wide of the keeper to record his tenth goal of the campaign.

Ashington went in search of a third and after a shot by Oliver had been deflected behind, Airey teed the ball up for himself from a Johnson corner but lashed over.

There were nervous moments at both ends. Penrith sub Daniel Smailes shooting weakly at Grant before Johnson and Airey placed efforts wide.

Then in the final minute, Airey had a great opportunity but was foiled by Richardson.

On Saturday, November 1, Ashington travel to face Celtic Nation (3pm).

Ashington: Grant, Slaughter, Christensen, Ferrell (Shaw 56), J Taylor (Davison 46), McGlen, Oliver, Downey, Stephenson (Airey 56), G Taylor, Johnson. Subs not used: B Middleton, Barnard.

Attendance: 190.

In midweek, the Colliers trailed to a goal by Paul Brayson at Newcastle Benfield.

However, after home keeper Andrew Grainger had been red carded for denying a clear goal scoring opportunity, Andrew Johnson equalised for the Colliers from the resultant penalty.

Second half goals from Glen Taylor and Tony Stephenson then put the seal on a 3-1 victory.