Ashington remain pointless as Shildon’s class shows

Ashington FC's Andrew Bulford. Picture by Gary Welford
Ashington FC's Andrew Bulford. Picture by Gary Welford
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Ashington travelled to Shildon desperately looking for a performance after their midweek 7-0 drubbing at Consett and an unceremonious exit from the FA Cup the previous weekend.

Last season’s champions have had no such problems, hitting six in each of their last competitive games with only one in response.

The Colliers, alive to the challenge in front of them, started with a cautious formation with Andrew Bulford alone up top, clearly looking to stifle the hosts.

It was Shildon who had the early opportunities with their first real chance coming after only four minutes.

Bell got the ball on the right of the penalty box but his cross was well cleared by Scott Blandford.

Two minutes later Ashington keeper Conor Grant had to be at his best when Rae shuffled clear of the defence and had his shot parried for a corner.

On ten minutes Ashington themselves had a chance to go in front. Newly signed winger Harrison Scott hit a beautifully weighted pass which evaded the Shildon captain Moore and was met by Bulford. He took the ball in his stride but fired agonisingly wide.

After 17 minutes Shildon deservedly took the lead. A foul was given in an inconspicuous location 35 yards from goal. But Lewis Wing stepped up and powered the free kick high over the wall and past a helpless Grant in the Colliers’ goal.

Shildon doubled their lead on 23 minutes with a well worked move finished off by Greulich-Smith. Ferguson took the ball on the right and chipped into the box where it was met by Rae who deftly headed down for the Shildon frontman to smash past Grant on the half volley.

Shildon remained on top and almost grabbed a third from an almost identical position to their first. On 27 minutes another free kick was conceded and again Wing stepped up. He hit the ball with venom but it went just wide of the goal.

Then Ferguson waltzed through the Ashington defence and hit a low shot just inches wide of the left post.

The second half began much as the first. Straight from the kick-off Rae almost grabbed a goal, shooting wide under pressure from James Harmison.

Ashington had a chance to reduce the deficit when Bulford found himself in space and when he was found by Kyle Downey his strike was deflected wide for a corner. From the set-piece Blandford was free in the box but could only head wide.

Ashington began to get more of the ball but in truth did not threaten the Shildon goal.

On 79 minutes Shildon sprung back into life with Grant having to be on top of his game to deny Wood.

Ten minutes from time Shildon grabbed their third and ended any faint hopes of an Ashington comeback whe Paul Connor powered his finish past Grant.

As the game petered out, Shildon once again had the ball in the back of the net only to be denied by the officials for offside.

In truth this was a better performance by Ashington but one which never looked like winning any points.

Three games in have seen an early exit from the FA Cup and in the league ten goals without reply.

Ashington: Grant, Henderson, Salmon, Blandford, Harmison, Buchanan, Scott, Gunn (Sampson), Downey, Bulford (Stevens 58), McAndrew.

Next up for Ashington is the visit of West Auckland on Tuesday, August 16, kick-off 7.30pm, before a trip to Meadow Park to face Sunderland RCA on Saturday.