Spluttering Ashington extend unbeaten run to six games

Michael Bell leaps to volley Ashington into the lead away at Seaham Red Star. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com
Michael Bell leaps to volley Ashington into the lead away at Seaham Red Star. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com

Ashington stretched their unbeaten league run to six matches with a draw against Seaham Red Star on Saturday.

But the Colliers were far from convincing as they failed to get into their stride, lacked fluency and spluttered throughout the 90 minutes.

Yet they could have won the contest in stoppage time when a header by Matty Grieve crashed against the bar.

The game kicked off in heavy rain and a procession of chances began in the third minute when Jonathyn Quinn curled the ball just wide of the upright after a move involving Kyle Downey and Dylan Williamson.

When play switched to the other end, ex-Ashington striker Tony Stephenson found himself in space but was denied by keeper Conor Grant who palmed away his effort from 14 yards.

Home stopper Shaun Newbrook kept the score sheet blank in the tenth minute.

Andrew Johnson played the ball into Joe Race’s feet and the striker executed a sharp turn before firing a right footer which was goal bound until Newbrook superbly tipped over.

Johnson cleared away from the danger zone after a cross from Robbie Bird then Chris Moore found Johnson but the Colliers skipper applied a weak connection with Newbrook gathering easily.

Incredibly 44 seconds later a chance fell the way of Nicky Kane but he tried to bend his shot which cleared the bar.

Williamson failed to latch onto a ball played in then an overhead kick by Liam McBryde was caught underneath the bar by Grant.

Substitute Michael Bell lofted over following a lay off from Quinn but right on the interval, Grieve made a vital block to deny home sub Daniel Robinson.

There was almost a sensational start to the second half when a long wind assisted clearance by Grant caught Newbrook napping on the edge of his area with the ball bouncing over his head but drifting a yard past the post.

However, the Colliers broke the deadlock in the 50th minute through Bell.

Downey floated over an inviting free kick from the right for Bell who placed a left footed volley across Newbrook and inside the far corner.

Bird was proving to be a threat down the left and he had two chances in quick succession saved by Grant, then a restart from Lee Kerr found Robinson whose effort flashed wide.

Newbrook clutched an effort from Williamson after he had played a one-two with Quinn then two minutes later, Darren Reay did exceptionally well to cross from the right but Bird volleyed wide.

Midway through the half, Ashington threw on Mechack Kanda and within seconds his cross was met by Johnson, who stretching could only stab wide.

Twenty minutes from time Seaham deservedly drew level after forcing a corner on the right.

Ashington failed to spot a late run into the danger area by Reay who got on the end of Kerr’s flag kick to glance past Grant.

Liam Atkin flicked a header wide from an in swinging Downey corner then Moore played the ball through to Kanda but his weak effort was directed straight at Newbrook.

Bird and sub Craig Roberts combined to set up McBryde whose shot was blocked before Ashington forced two attempts in time added on.

Sub Lewis Robson made a darting run down the flank and when he crossed, Kanda’s header was deflected for a corner. Johnson swung over the delivery where Grieve’s effort hit the woodwork and was cleared.

Ashington: Grant, Christensen, Gray (Bell 27), Downey, Atkin, Grieve, Moore, Race (Robson 75 minutes), Williamson (Kanda 67), Quinn, Johnson. Subs not used: Harmison, Thompson.

On Saturday, September 19, Ashington are at home to Morpeth Town kick-off 3pm.