Ashington lost their unbeaten tag following their sixth Ebac Northern League game of the season on Saturday when Sunderland Ryhope CW – whom they had knocked out of the Emirates FA Cup on the opening day of the campaign – turned the tables at Woodhorn Lane.
The Wearsiders edged a close fought game with Matthew Weirs scoring the decisive goal midway through the first half but Ryhope had their ‘keeper Jonathan Ball to thank for preserving all three points after he produced a world class save deep in stoppage time.
Chances were created at both ends early in the contest. Ashington full back Luke Salmon met a cross from the right by Lee McAndrew to stab a volley wide then home stopper Conor Grant made a superb block to deny Elliott Woods from eight yards.
Grant also foiled Joseph Melvin then Ben Sampson made inroads with a great run which saw his cross deflected for a corner. A cross cum shot from the right by Corey Nicholson was pushed away by Grant before the visitors took the lead.
As Ashington looked for an offside flag which never came, Weirs latched onto a through ball, controlled it beautifully then lifted over Grant from 12 yards.
The visitors looking an organised side, continued to probe and it was Grant who kept the deficit to just a single goal as he denied Melvin on two occasions then right on the half time whistle, Nicholson spurned a marvellous chance firing inches wide.
Ashington meanwhile carved out their best opening in a move involving Wayne Buchanan, McAndrew and Damien Stevens – the latter who was included in the starting line up for the first time in a year.
Stevens had a rasping volley brilliantly saved by Ball then a cross by Dale Pearson was fisted away by Ball.
Chances in the second half were even more remote but the best couple fell Ashington’s way. Ten minutes in, skipper Craig Scott met a left wing corner from Antony and directed a header which was goal bound until Ball dived to push away to safety.