Downey double earns Ashington first league win of the season

Midfielder Kyle Downey gave Ashington an early lead scoring directly from a free kick. Picture by Ian Appleby
Midfielder Kyle Downey gave Ashington an early lead scoring directly from a free kick. Picture by Ian Appleby

At this time last season, Ashington had conceded ten goals from two league games, scored none and were out of the FA Cup.

This term they are unbeaten after their first three games and on Saturday look forward to a clash against Sunderland RCA in the preliminary round of the FA Cup.

Supporters have also played a key part in lifting the atmosphere at Woodhorn Lane – being appreciative of constructive moves and generating a warm buzz when the Colliers score.

Such was the case on Saturday when Kyle Downey set them on their way to their first league win of the campaign with a stunning free kick despatched with aplomb in only the fifth minute.

Downey stepped up to curl a precision left footer from 25 yards into the top corner.

Then on the quarter hour, Ben Harmison’s low cross from the left was handled in the area by Liam McNamara and after referee Mark Ryan had pointed to the spot, Downey doubled the lead, sending Stefan Holden the wrong way.

It was just the start the Colliers had wanted – yet they could so easily have been trailing in the second minute when a first time effort from Robert Spence narrowly cleared the bar following a cross from the right flank.

Ex-Collier Scott Gunn had a free kick pushed out by home stopper Conor Grant, then on the half hour Ben Sampson played the ball sideways for Downey who, eyeing up his hat-trick, was denied by Holden, who collected at the second attempt.

Grant held from Spence before James Harmison thwarted Gerard Richardson with a brilliant tackle inside the area.

Chances in the second period were at a premium. Matthew Lowrie glanced a corner from Harry Jewitt wide then a ball from substitute Aiden Heywood went across the face of the Ashington goal.

The closest the Colliers came was three minutes from time. Ben Harmison latched onto a clearance from Grant and tried to chip Holden but the keeper held comfortably.

On Wednesday, August 16, Ashington travel to Bishop Auckland then on Saturday, August 19, the Colliers are away to Sunderland RCA in the FA Cup.

The Wansbeck side will then host Penrith on Tuesday, August 22, unless either or both clubs are involved in a replay from their cup exploits which would take priority.

Ashington: Grant, Christensen, Hornsby, Strafford (McAndrew 78), J Harmison, Buchanan, Sampson, Downey (Antony 46), Johnston (Pearson 65), B Harmison, Stephenson. Subs not used: Salmon, Henderson.

Attendance: 174.