A SPECTACULAR goal from Paul Antony two minutes from time secured all three points for mid-table Newcastle Benfield and put a dent in Ashington’s push for a top five finish at Sam Smiths Park on Wednesday night.
The Colliers were caught out by a quickly taken free kick down the right touchline when Brian Dodsworth – scorer of Benfield’s opener – found Mark Turnbull and when he crossed to the near post, Antony netted with a scissors kick with the effort giving visiting keeper Karl Dryden no chance before it nestled inside the upright.
There was no questioning what proved to be a classy winner by Antony, but in truth, the home side were indebted to an inspired performance at the other end from stopper Andrew Grainger for keeping them in the hunt.
The first half in particular contained few opportunities, but without a doubt the Colliers should have gone ahead inside two minutes when the ball fell to Craig Scott following a Tommy English corner but the defender lashed over from eight yards when a goal appeared a formality.
Then Philip Lumsden fired over before Benfield went ahead in the 11th minute.
Following a tackle by Mark O’Dea inside his own half, the ball broke fortuitously for Dodsworth and the striker coolly chipped over Dryden from the right hand side of the area.
The score gave Benfield a lift whilst it rocked Ashington back on their heels, and it took Gary Middleton’s side a while before they started to enjoy more of the ball.
In the 33rd minute only a brilliant save by Dryden prevented a second from Lumsden, but three minutes before the break Ashington drew level through Matty Grieve.
English’s in-swinger from the right was knocked back across by O’Dea for Grieve who squeezed a header just inside the post.
Early in the second period Dodsworth was through in the inside right channel but his low effort was held by Dryden.
Then three times inside a ten-minute spell the excellent Grainger denied O’Dea, Walton and James Taylor.
And after Darren Lough and Taylor had shots held, an 85th minute attempt by Walton to unlock the door saw the home stopper save at the second attempt.
Then came Antony’s winner with time running out on the Colliers.
Ashington: Dryden, Grieve, Lough, Dugdale, Atkin, Scott, Taylor, O’Dea, Walton, Godsmark, English. Subs not used: Young, Buzzeo, Rees, Bainbridge.
On Saturday, Ashington come face to face with FA Vase finalists Dunston UTS at Woodhorn Lane, kick-off 3pm.