Taylor hat-trick as Ashington turn form book upside down to beat Shildon

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Glen Taylor bagged a hat-trick as Ashington produced a shock 4-3 win over title chasers Shildon on Wednesday evening.

But there was so much more for the Colliers to savour apart from the score line.

They went for the throat from the first whistle and dominated the game, which they led on three occasions.

It was the fourth consecutive season that the Wansbeck side have come away from Dean Street with all three points.

And the success was achieved with a threadbare squad.

James Loughborough came in for his debut whilst club skipper Andrew Johnson’s comeback continued as he came on to replace the injured Joe Moscrop shortly before the interval.

The entire 90 minutes was played at a frantic pace and for spectators was totally absorbing as the Colliers turned the form book upside down.

They languished second from bottom of the form guide going into the game, but on the night it was Steve Harmison’s side who looked the title aspirants.

They got off to a great start amid perfect playing conditions with on fire Taylor scoring the first of his treble as early as the third minute.

Dylan Williamson, who tormented home full back Lee Chapman throughout the first period, produced a surging run down the right and when he crossed, Taylor controlled the ball then struck a left footer from the edge of the area and wide of ex-Colliers keeper Kyle Hayes and into the bottom corner.

Ashington keeper Conor Grant saved with his feet from Mark Doninger and Lee Paul Scroggins blasted wide before the Colliers surged forward again in the 14th minute following a probing run from Tony Stephenson. He cut the ball back for Moscrop whose right foot effort was blocked and from the rebound Williamson was also denied.

However in the next minute, the visitors had what appeared to be a stonewall penalty turned down.

Taylor put Kyle Downey through and the midfielder was ready to pull the trigger when he was baulked just inside the area by James Harwood.

At the other end Grant turned away a shot from Ben Wood, but in the 24th minute it was Wood who rifled in the equaliser following a cross from the left.

But back came Ashington and on the half hour Williamson and Moscrop combined to set up Taylor who sent a thunderous left foot drive past Hayes from 15 yards to restore the lead.

Williamson was wreaking havoc with his pace but after another terrific burst forward his shot was weak with Moscrop lifting the rebound over from 16 yards.

Then seconds from the break Hayes made a superb save from substitute Johnson.

In the 48th minute, Shildon drew level for a second time.

Somehow three Ashington players lost out on a ball in midfield and when it was played through, Doninger slid wide of Grant despite a last ditch attempt by Lance McGlen to intervene.

Ashington continued to excel and have the upper hand, and they pieced together a lovely move involving Oliver, Johnson and Taylor with the latter being blocked out.

In the 53rd minute Johnson met a right wing corner from Downey to steer a header which had goal written all over it until Doninger cleared off the line.

Twice in the space of a minute Williamson then Oliver drilled balls across the face of goal with only a touch required.

But in the 64th minute, the goal of the night arrived with Taylor completing his hat-trick.

Johnson was the provider of a peach of a pass from the left for Taylor, who applied an exquisite first touch before letting fly with a sumptuous 20 yarder with his right foot which left Hayes helpless.

Five minutes later it was 4-2. Taylor and Oliver linked with the latter venturing across the area to find Williamson and when the winger played a low cross in, Stephenson finished off the move in style.

The visiting supporters were lapping up their side’s scintillating performance and in the 75th minute Ashington could have gone nap when Williamson had a clear chance but he saw his effort brilliantly kept out by Hayes.

Forty seconds later, Shildon substitute Paul Connor reduced the leeway to 4-3, then a free-kick by Scroggins was just wide.

Still the action continued, and after Johnson had stroked the ball wide, Stephenson netted the rebound after a Taylor shot had been blocked by Hayes, but it was disallowed for offside.

The final whistle ended a game which was a great advert for the Northern League.

Ashington: Grant, McGlen, Oliver, Downey, Harmison, Buchanan, Williamson, Stephenson, Moscrop (Johnson 42), G Taylor, Loughborough (Robson 85). Sub not used: N Brown.