Ashington hit new lows with derby defeat against Morpeth

Kyle Oliver worked tirelessly in midfield for Ashington during the 2-0 home defeat to Morpeth. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com
Kyle Oliver worked tirelessly in midfield for Ashington during the 2-0 home defeat to Morpeth. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com

Ashington plummeted to the depths with a woeful performance on Non League Day against Morpeth Town at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday.

And it was certainly not a case of daylight robbery as the Highwaymen deservedly completed a quick fire double over the Colliers following hard on the heels of their 2-1 victory at Craik Park at the start of the season.

Instead it was another bitterly disappointing afternoon for manager Gary Middleton and his staff, as well as supporters as they still await their first league win of the campaign and look at a league table which sees Ashington third bottom of the table.

Morpeth adopted the old adage of ‘speculate to accumulate’ as they probed in the early stages.

Seasoned striker Michael Chilton headed wide in the fifth minute – an effort which saw debutant on-loan keeper Conor Grant dive to his right to cover.

Then a ball up front ricocheted off Ben Christensen to Chilton who from 22 yards, lifted a right footer over.

Michael Hall tried his luck from a similar distance which ended in the same result before the 20th minute saw Shaun Gibson and Marc Walton combine with a one-two down the left but no one was on hand to convert a cross from the former.

Morpeth immediately went route one with former Ashington keeper Karl Dryden finding Steven Anderson on the left and the striker’s cross was parried out by Grant.

It was the 25th minute before the home side mustered their first shot, and even then Glen Taylor’s right footer flashed over the bar.

Eighty seconds into the second half Morpeth took the lead.

A deep cross from the right by Shaun Henderson was headed into the air by Richard Flynn and when the ball came down, Anderson steered his shot wide from 16 yards wide of Grant and inside the far corner.

The score could so easily have been doubled on 55 minutes when the dangerous looking Shaun Taylor burst through the middle and rounded Grant but then scooped the ball over from a tight angle.

Ashington’s first chance of the period arrived on the hour. Dryden touched over a cross from Glen Taylor and from Kyle Oliver’s corner, the ball was turned back by James Taylor but Christensen fired over on the half volley.

Grant saved with his legs to deny Taylor then skipper Chris Jewels before a free kick from fully 30 yards by Walton was easily taken by Dryden.

Ashington’s performance had lacked in sparkle and drive yet finally, in the 78th minute, there were oohs from the home contingent when Glen Taylor crossed to the far post where Walton’s volley hit the side netting.

But two minutes later, the Colliers slipped further into the abyss when Chilton finished off a move which he instigated from the half way line.

He found Anderson on the left and when the forward returned the ball into the penalty area, Morpeth’s proven goal scorer wrapped up all three points for his side with a right footed finish.

Ashington: Grant, Christensen, Lumsden (Davison 63), Slaughter, Flynn, J Taylor, Oliver, Downey, Walton, G Taylor, Gibson. Subs not used: Elliott, Bannon.

Morpeth Town: Dryden, Henderson (Keenan 80), Lancaster (Dunn 82), Hall, Grieve, Jewels, Taylor, Grant, Anderson, Chilton, Bell (Fry 53). Subs not used: Buchanan, Waugh.

Attendance: 330.

Ashington are in FA Cup action on Saturday when they take on Scarborough Athletic in the first qualifying round where kick-off is 3pm. Provided there is no replay, the Colliers will then host Shildon on Tuesday, September 16, at 7.30pm.