WHAT a weekend it was for Bedlington Terriers FC’s Tony Shandran.
The striker notched a double hat-trick on Saturday as the Terriers mauled Stokesley 15-0, then was the toast of Welfare Park on Bank Holiday Monday after he hit another treble and had an assist in the other goal which earned his side a deserved 4-1 win over Ashington CFC in the local derby at Woodhorn Lane.
Shandran, 29, a plasterer, certainly helped skim over the cracks after the Colliers had totally dominated the opening 25 minutes of what was an entertaining clash.
And a delighted Shandran said afterwards: “This is without doubt my best ever August Bank Holiday weekend.
“I have never scored nine goals in two games at this level before and it was very pleasing.
“It is a while since we defeated Ashington 4-1 – and a few years since I scored against them.
“On a personal note, I was thrilled to bits to notch three in a big local derby.
“The management at Bedlington have brought in some quality players and we should be fighting it out at the top of the league this season.
“We have had a few indifferent results but have now started to gel and hopefully we’ll kick on from here.”
Ashington were quick to come out of the traps and after Chris Fawcett had blasted over after 57 seconds, the home side went ahead in the third minute.
James Harmison got on the end of a long throw-in from the left by Dean Deagle to send a looping header into the far corner of the net.
Apart from Shandran posing a threat up front, the Terriers had to withstand a barrage of attacks from a hungry looking Colliers side.
Andrew Johnson, Joe Race and Gareth Bainbridge all had further efforts in the first quarter hour whilst a weak shot by Shandran represented Bedlington’s sole reply.
James Taylor made a splendid tackle in the box to thwart Steve Bowey before the visitors goal again came under intense pressure.
In the 24th minute, from a Fawcett corner on the right, a header by Johnson thudded against the underside of the bar, then keeper Craig Pickering saved with his legs to deny Bainbridge.
The missed opportunities proved significant as on the half hour the Terriers levelled.
Shandran probed again with a ball played into the danger zone and a quick interchange saw Steven Stewart set up Ian Graham who drove the ball past Karl Dryden.
Then five minutes before the break Stewart was again the provider, threading the ball down the right for Shandran who rounded Dryden and applied a cool and clinical finish from a tight angle.
The Terriers controlled the second period and added a third in the 70th minute with a route one effort.
Pickering’s long clearance out of his hands bisected the home rearguard allowing Shandran to fire just inside the post.
Dryden turned around a shot from Stewart which took a deflection off Darren Lough before Shandran completed his hat-trick two minutes from time.
Ashington lost the ball in midfield and the Terriers took full advantage with Shandran pouncing to make no mistake, shooting wide of Dryden.
Afterwards Bedlington’s joint manager Tony Lowery said: “For the first 20 minutes Ashington came at us strongly and caused us loads of problems and we struggled to deal with set pieces.
“However, we got back into the game and from half an hour on I thought we passed the ball a bit better.
“Second half I thought we controlled the game.
“Looking back, it was a hard derby match for the first 30 minutes and if Ashington had got a second goal it could have been different.
“These games are always well fought and there will be another instalment at our place on Boxing Day – but I’m delighted with the result.”
As for Shandran, Lowery said: “Tony is a top quality player.
“Ian Graham’s strike got us back into the game at the right time and I thought there would be further goals for us with Tony Shandran yet again proving to be a handful and scoring a deserved hat-trick.”
Ashington CFC manager Gary Middleton said: “We were the better team in the first half.
“After the early goal we hit the bar and are carrying no luck.
“Bedlington bossed the second half and on that deserved to win.”
Middleton, who had asked his side for a performance following their 5-1 defeat against Sunderland RCA at the weekend, added: “It was a better first half showing – but I was not particularly happy with the second 45 minutes.”
Ashington: Dryden, Taylor, Lough (Rees 82 mins), Johnson, Grieve, Harmison, Deagle (Dunn 70 mins), O’Dea, Race (Buzzeo 76 mins), Bainbridge, Fawcett. Sub not used: Graham.
Bedlington Terriers: Pickering, Harrison, Novak, Flynn, Carr, Elliott, Stewart (Swithenbank 83 mins), Bowey (C Morton 34 mins), Graham, Shandran, English. Subs not used: Wade, Snowden, K Morton.