Ashington 4-1 Penrith
Ashington extended their unbeaten run to four matches with a 4-1 victory over Penrith at a windswept Woodhorn Lane ground on Tuesday night.
Colliers skipper Craig Scott – returning to the line up – was outstanding at the heart of the defence alongside Wayne Buchanan whilst the Cumbrians clearly belied their second from bottom of the table placing with a spirited display.
The Wansbeck side – kicking against the wind - got off to a great start with a goal in the second minute by Ben Harmison. Defender Dean Rea chopped Lee McAndrew down inside the box and referee Sam Ross had no hesitation in awarding a spot kick. Harmison duly stepped forward and sent ‘keeper Daniel Eccles the wrong way with the penalty. After that, chances were at a premium.
In the eighth minute Robbie Hebson was clear but was foiled by a superb tackle inside the area by McAndrew then Buchanan intercepted at the nick of time as the Bonny Blues threatened again. Midway through the period, Penrith’s long serving defender Willie Paul was not too far off target with an effort from fully 35 yards before a major turning point arrived in the 28th minute. Jonathan Murray burst clear through the middle and only had ‘keeper Conor Grant to beat but his effort was brilliantly blocked by the stopper.
Ten minutes later, Callum Johnston doubled the home sides lead with a clinical finish. Ben Harmison produced some fine skill down the left and when he pulled the ball back, Johnston side footed into the roof of the net from 12 yards. Three minutes after the interval, Harmison was involved again as Johnston added his second and the Colliers third. Harmison laid the ball off for Ben Christensen who crossed into the area where Johnston spun then applied the finishing touch. On the hour, Ashington introduced David Edwards for Paul Antony and four minutes after his introduction, the midfielder unleashed a drive from 30 yards which was superbly saved low down by Eccles.
With quarter of an hour remaining, Edwards won a tackle and played a perfect ball through for Harmison who was one on one with Eccles but turned and clipped the ball wide from the edge of the area. Five minutes from time, the Cumbrians reduced the deficit when Adam Main latched onto a cross from the right and rifled home wide of Grant.
But in the first minute of time added on for stoppages, a great move by the home side, culminating in a terrific cross from the left by sub Jay Hornsby saw fellow sub Tony Stephenson restore the three goals advantage as he found the corner from close range. The visitors were incensed, claiming that Stephenson had handled but the goal stood. *On Saturday, Ashington are at home to Dunston UTS (3pm)
Ashington: Grant, Christensen, Salmon, Antony (Edwards 60 minutes), Scott, Buchanan, Pearson, S Bell (Hornsby 67 minutes), Johnston (Stephenson 74 minutes), B Harmison, McAndrew. Subs not used: Strafford, Glasper (gk).
Referee: Sam Ross (Durham)