Ashington are pegged back twice by Sunderland RCA

Ashington FC's James Harmison.
Ashington FC's James Harmison.

A late strike from Sunderland RCA substitute Luke Proctor denied Ashington all three points at Meadow Lane on Tuesday night.

The Colliers extended their unbeaten league run to five but had twice led through defenders James Harmison and Liam Atkin only to be pegged back with ex-Darlington front man Liam Hatch and Proctor on target for the home side.

Steve Harmison’s side were left to reflect on missed chances whilst efforts from skipper Andrew Johnson and Kyle Downey rattled the crossbar.

It was a busy night for Teesside-based referee Simon Clayton as he brandished eight yellow cards – six to the visitors.

Ashington began well and in the opening minute Johnson found Josh Gray who whipped over a cross which was blocked.

A pile driver from Downey was kept out by home stopper Carl Morris with Paul Dunn heading over from the resultant corner.

The Wansbeck side went in front in the eighth minute. Morris picked up a back pass seven yards out and when Johnson touched the in-direct free kick sideways, Harmison rifled home right footed into the corner of the net.

Ashington custodian Conor Grant clawed down from Callum Hope and seconds later the home forward lobbed narrowly wide.

RCA drew level in the 26th minute when a cross from the left went across the face of goal and Hatch had the simple task of stabbing the ball into an empty net.

Ashington continually threatened down the left with some slick one touch passing, but they rode their luck in the dying minutes of the half when Reece Noble struck the post with Dunn clearing off the line then Grant denied Hatch with Atkin booting clear.

Nevertheless, in stoppage time Dylan Williamson was checked by an RCA player as he burst through the middle. He then won a clash against another defender but at the same time as the ball ricocheted in the Ashington winger’s favour which put him clear on goal, referee Clayton whistled to bring play back for the original offence to the annoyance of the visitors.

Ten minutes into the second period the Colliers regained the lead.

Gray found Johnson from a left wing corner and the visitors skipper curled a delightful effort which beat Morris all ends up but crashed against the bar.

However, from the flag kick on the left by Johnson, an effort from Harmison hit the post and the same player headed the rebound forward and it glanced off Atkin to find the back of the net.

Ashington needed a third goal to give themselves some breathing space against an RCA outfit who never gave up.

They had three opportunities inside a five-minute period.

On the hour they pieced together the best move of the match involving Johnson and Gray down the left flank and when the ball was played inside to Williamson, the forward beat a defender but was stroked agonisingly wide of the far post.

A free kick by Atkin was played across the box by Jonathyn Quinn but Williamson volleyed wide, then Chris Moore advanced but lashed the ball over from 20 yards.

For the home outfit, Hope side-footed wide and after Grant had fisted out a venomous drive by Stephen Callen, Kevin Gordon hit the side-netting.

Seven minutes from time, a left footed free kick from all of 30 yards by Downey smashed against the underside of the bar before Johnson headed over.

In the 89th minute, the ball was played into the Ashington box, Grant appeared to have it covered but Proctor nipped in to fire inside the far post for the equaliser.

Then in the second minute of stoppage time, an inviting free kick from Johnson went across the face when only a touch was required.

Ashington: Grant, Christensen, Gray, Dunn, Harmison (Robson 90), Atkin, Moore, Downey (Grieve 90), Williamson (Race 73), Quinn, Johnson. Subs not used: Williams.