Only the crossbar denies Bell his best goal yet

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PHILL Bell came within a whisker of scoring what would have been the best goal of his career at West Auckland on Saturday.

The Colliers drew the Ebac Northern League first division clash 2-2 at Darlington Road – but Bell’s 75th minute effort came at a time when they led 2-1 and proved to be one of several turning points in the game.

Bell latched onto a ball played across by James Taylor and hit a brilliant right foot volley from 18 yards which saw advanced keeper Neal Atkinson merely look on only for the ball to thud against the bar.

Bell, 29, said: “I judged the flight of the ball and decided on impulse to have a go.

“It was something which you would tend to do in training rather than in a competitive match, but I connected sweetly with it and if it had been three or four inches lower and hit the net then I’ve got to admit that it would easily have been the best goal in my career.

“I remember scoring a beauty from 35 yards on my first Ashington debut against Spennymoor at Woodhorn Lane – but I don’t generally hit many from outside the box.”

Ashington supporters had seen Bell deviate from his normal striking role – after being handed a new position on the left hand side of midfield.

“It was not a completely new role from my point of view,” said Bell.

“I operated in that position in my last season with Whitley Bay.

“The boss was aware of it and he wanted me to play on the left side of midfield but quite pushed on and arriving as a third forward.

“I enjoyed the role and playing there gives me the chance to have the ball facing the goal rather than with my back to the goal all the time.

“But I’m also prepared to play anywhere to benefit the team – and I thought we were unlucky not to get all three points.”

Having been out of action through injury for a period approaching five months, Bell is happy with his return.

“The boss is bedding me in week by week,” he added.

“The problem on my comeback was being rusty.

“It takes time on the pitch to get your touch back as well as decision making but I feel fit – and great. Now my aim is to hopefully stay in the side.”