Ashington match-winner Sampson hides his disappointment

Ben Sampson, left, reacts quickest to a loose ball to score the winner for Ashington against West Allotment Celtic. Picture by Ian Appleby
Ben Sampson, left, reacts quickest to a loose ball to score the winner for Ashington against West Allotment Celtic. Picture by Ian Appleby
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Ben Sampson was Ashington’s match-winner on Saturday, scoring his third goal of the season in the 1-0 victory over West Allotment Celtic at Woodhorn Lane.

However, the Morpeth-based teenager went into the clash hiding a secret from his teammates.

The Ashington-born midfielder turned in an outstanding performance after laying aside the disappointment of failing his driving test less then two hours before kick-off.

And Colliers manager Steve Harmison was quick to shower praise on Sampson, a student at King Edward VI School in Morpeth.

The boss said: “People have got to realise that the kid is only 17-years-old. I thought he was excellent again, but to be honest, he has been in this form ever since he came into the team.

“We knew what a good player he was, but we tried to protect him at the start of the season by giving him seven or eight substitute appearances because we had to get him to understand what the Northern League is all about.

“After failing his driving test, it was fitting that he scored the winner, and it shows the character of the young lad.

“The elation you have when you pass your test is one thing, but the disappointment is another, so for him to come and play like he did was a credit to him.”

Sampson, whose father Paul and granddad Bill have also worn Ashington’s colours over the years, said: “I was on a low after the test result, but I put it to the back of my mind and just got on with the game.

“I thought we passed the ball better than we have done all season and played really well.

“We played some good football and were unfortunate just to win 1-0.

“I was delighted with both Ashington’s performance as well as my own, and I think I’ve earned my place in the side.”

Sampson showed composure for his goal, which arrived in the 71st minute.

“I just saw a gap and it was a case of rolling the ball in rather than lashing it,” he added.

“I thought as a team we bounced back well after the two losses.

“We have been playing well and there is a good atmosphere in the dressing room.” Reflecting on the victory, Harmison stressed that the result was the ‘be all and end all’.

He said: “A win is a win. They went down to ten men and it was hard for us to break them down.

“Give West Allotment some credit, they worked hard to a plan to frustrate us and they did that.

“We have experienced a disappointing and interesting week for the club, and it doesn’t matter who you play against, getting back on winning terms is the be all and end all.

“We huffed and puffed then all of a sudden got the goal, which I have to admit was fortunate, but hopefully our luck is changing because things have been going against us.

“We controlled the game and we had too because we were playing against ten men.

“We went back to a shape for the team which was making us win games, and although we weren’t brilliant, the most important thing for me is getting the job done when not everything is working well.”