ASHINGTON’S season continues to prosper in more ways than one after a good win at Consett on Saturday.
The Colliers are already hoping to achieve their highest league placing in the STL Northern League in the third season since Gary Middleton, Neil Winskill and Richie Bond took over the management reins.
And on Saturday the Wansbeck side picked up only their second victory from nine league outings against Consett at Belle Vue, the last being ten years ago with an identical 2-1 scoreline.
It was ironic too that Marc Walton, playing against his former club and who netted a brace in the 3-1 triumph over the Steelmen at Woodhorn Lane just over a fortnight ago, came up trumps again with another timely double to ease his side back to winning ways after a midweek defeat at Bishop Auckland.
Walton has already proved to be an inspirational signing.
The striker took his tally of goals to an impressive ten in 13 matches, half way towards his target of 20 by the end of the campaign.
But in truth he could have helped himself to a double hat-trick.
That should have materialised during a first period totally dominated by a rampant Colliers, and a huge reason why Middleton’s men did not have the game well and truly sewn up by half-time was an outstanding performance by Consett goalkeeper Peter Jameson.
Walton could so easily have been on the scoresheet in the fifth minute.
A headed back-pass by David Scorer – who was to be sent off later in the period – struck the lurking Walton on the shoulder and the striker’s instinctive lob over Jameson saw the stopper tip the ball around.
Paul Buzzeo supplied a defence splitting pass which released Godsmark who had a great opportunity.
He misconnected with his shot from ten yards but nevertheless saw Jameson palm over.
On the quarter hour a dynamic pass from Tommy English found Walton who paused then struck a goalbound half volley which was held by the keeper.
Half a minute later, a lovely Ashington move ended with Andrew Johnson finding Walton whose shot was held by Jameson, then Michael Tait – on his return to the side after injury – had an effort blocked.
It came as no surprise when the Colliers took the lead in the 25th minute, although the goal was shrouded in controversy.
Jameson picked the ball up eight yards out with referee Tom Rogers awarding the Colliers a free kick for a back-pass.
Piecha was yellow carded for dissent then ex-Ashington player Ryan Bell broke out from the wall before the ball was kicked and also earned a card.
Eventually English touched the ball to Walton whose thunderous right foot effort somehow found its way through a ruck of players and into the back of the net.
But the home side were still incensed, and after Lewis Teasdale was also shown yellow before Consett restarted the game, a couple of minutes later the Steelmen were reduced to ten men when Scorer also spoke out of turn and received a straight red card.
Atkin connected with a corner by English to see his shot cleared off the line before that man Walton struck again in the 35th minute.
He latched onto a through ball, shrugged off a defender then drove home with his right foot from 18 yards, giving Jameson no chance.
Two minutes later, man of the moment Walton ought to have claimed a hat-trick.
Again Ashington pieced together a slick move with Walton and Johnson exchanging passes which gave the striker a clear one-on-one chance but he was foiled by Jameson.
The Colliers had played some neat football in the first period, but with only two minutes of the second half gone they let the ten men of Consett back into the contest.
Home boss Kenny Lindoe had replaced Teasdale with Jack Stanger on resumption – and it was the substitute who struck gold.
He met a cross from the left by Michael Mackay to steer a header between Karl Dryden and the post.
Although Consett held the upper hand and had Colliers supporters biting their fingernails, they rarely threatened the Ashington goal.
Indeed it was the visitors who had the bulk of what few chances there were.
English found Godsmark whose right footer clipped Phill Bell and was pushed away to safety by Jameson.
Jameson then produced arguably his best save of the afternoon on the hour to deny Godsmark – but it was in vain as the striker was offside.
English went close with a curling free kick from 20 yards before in the last minute of normal time Dale Burrell stabbed well wide following a cross from the left by Mackay.
Ashington: Dryden, Buzzeo (Grieve 71 mins), Lough, Taylor, Atkin, Scott, Johnson, Tait (O’Dea 46 mins), Walton, Godsmark, English. Subs not used: Bainbridge, Rees, Young.
In midweek, Ashington’s unbeaten run of six games came to an end at Heritage Park as a goal ten minutes from time by Bishop Auckland striker Arran Wearmouth gave his side a slender victory.
On Saturday Ashington are at home to Marske United then the Colliers have an extended break, including no game over the Easter period, before they travel to face Newcastle Benfield on Wednesday, April 11, for a 7.30pm kick-off.