A VIBRANT performance by Ashington saw them deservedly take the spoils from the pre-season friendly against Blyth Spartans at Woodhorn Lane on Tuesday night.
The Colliers looked composed and assured throughout with newcomer from Newcastle Benfield Paul Antony orchestrating affairs in midfield and looking a class acquisition.
And on umpteen occasions during the first half the hosts got behind the Spartans defence and could and should have put the result beyond doubt.
Gary Middleton’s side quickly settled into their stride with Andrew Johnson netting twice in a five-minute spell.
Phil Cave had fired the first shot of the game wide then at the other end Craig Farrell bisected the home defence to set up Lee Mason whose effort was turned wide by home keeper Karl Dryden.
Dryden pushed a shot from Farrell up into the air then seconds later – in the 13th minute – the Colliers edged ahead.
Cave was the provider of a lovely through pass with Johnson applying a great low finish with his right foot across keeper Conor Grant and inside the far corner.
The goalscorer could so easily have added another when he burst through the Blyth defence but his attempted chip over Grant was palmed away by the keeper.
However, in the 18th minute, Johnson latched onto a through ball from Antony and made no mistake with a left foot effort from inside the area.
Ashington pieced together a scintillating move minutes later with James Taylor and Antony initially involved and when the latter played the ball into the danger zone, Johnson’s nonchalant flick was saved by Grant.
Marc Walton, Johnson and Liam Atkin all had further opportunities before the Croft Park side reduced the arrears in the 43rd minute.
Robbie Dale set up Craig Farrell who applied a superb finish, slotting the ball wide of Dryden from 12 yards.
If the first half had been dominated by Ashington, then the second was a more even affair.
Yet the Colliers still had the greater percentage of chances with Johnson and Mark O’Dea missing out before midway through, a 22-yard free kick by Craig Farrell was fisted away by Dryden.
Taylor squandered two great openings inside as many minutes – but the same player effectively wrapped up the result for the Colliers in the 78th minute.
He played a one-two with Gareth Bainbridge and side-footed wide of the substitute trialist Blyth keeper.
Then just before the final whistle, Bainbridge wriggled through inside the area to set up Stephen Young whose effort smacked against the base of the post and was cleared.
Ashington: Dryden, Williams, Cave, Antony (Sayer 77 mins), Atkin (Storey (57 mins), Grieve, Taylor, O’Dea (Dugdale 69 mins), Walton (Young 69 mins), Johnson (Bainbridge 69 mins), English (Buzzeo 75 mins).
Blyth Spartans: Grant, Armstrong, R Farrell, Vipond, Melish, Leeson, Mason, Hodgson, C Farrell, Dale, Turnbull. Subs: All trialists.