Ashington hang on to win and keep top five hopes alive

ASHINGTON will go into their final game of the season on Saturday knowing a win will secure them a fifth place finish in the stl Northern League division one.

The possibility of claiming fifth spot comes after the Colliers beat Billingham Synthonia 2-1 at Woodhorn Lane on Tuesday night.

However, their opponents on Saturday travel to Ashington with an even bigger objective.

West Auckland will claim the league title should they beat Ashington after they trounced Whitley Bay 6-1 on Tuesday evening.

The FA Vase finalists came from a goal down to beat the current Vase holders after Bay were reduced to nine men following two first half straight red cards.

Should Ashington overcome Auckland on Saturday, their league placing and points total will be their highest since Gary Middleton, Neil Winskill and Richie Bond took over the management reins three years ago.

But on Tuesday night the Wansbeck outfit were left clinging on to record a slender victory over Billingham Synthonia, this after moving into a two-goal lead and looking comfortable.

And when Synners had defender David Abel red carded early in the second period, it appeared as if Ashington’s chances had increased further.

But as so often happens, the ten men rallied to play some excellent football and got their just rewards when they reduced the deficit with only five minutes remaining through Shane Henry.

They then had vociferous shouts for a last gasp penalty turned down in a grandstand finale.

Ashington got off to a flying start with Craig Scott netting his third goal in as many games in only the third minute.

Scott met an inch perfect corner from the right by Tommy English at the far post and directed a thumping header into the net from six yards.

Midway through the period, Jonny Godsmark doubled the lead.

Skipper Liam Atkin and Paul Buzzeo were involved in the move and when the latter slipped a pass through for Godsmark, the striker fired across keeper Joshua Moody from a tight angle with the ball finding the net after clipping the far post.

Scott, Marc Walton and Mark O’Dea all had further chances before the interval.

Then four minutes after the restart, Abel was sent off by Westerhope-based referee Paul Brown for a foul on Buzzeo.

Godsmark had a one-on-one opportunity but was thwarted by Moody then English and Walton had chances which were missed before Scott came to the rescue in the 64th minute, clearing off the line to deny Jamie Blyth.

Billingham were forcing concerted pressure and after Dryden had kept out an effort from Chay Liddle, Blyth was narrowly off target with a volley after connecting with a right wing cross.

Substitute Simon Cunningham produced a last ditch tackle in the danger area to stop a certain goal from fellow substitute Chris Burton, but in the 85th minute, Henry fired home left footed to reduce the arrears.

Then in the fourth minute of time added on, Burton went to ground inside the area but Billingham’s claims for a penalty were turned down.

Ashington: Dryden, Grieve, Lough, O’Dea (Cunningham 69 mins), Atkin, Scott, Buzzeo, Taylor, Walton (Young 80 mins), Godsmark, English (Bainbridge 83 mins). Subs not used: Moscrop, Hogg.

Saturday’s game at Woodhorn Lane kicks-off at 3pm.