Title chasers Marske edge entertaining encounter at Ashington

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A brilliantly taken goal by Sam Garvie ten minutes from time gave high flying Marske United a 3-2 victory over Ashington at Woodhorn Lane on Tuesday night.

As a result, the Seasiders are now second in the Ebac Northern League first division, level on points with Bedlington Terriers.

The game was played at a furious pace with the visitors a constant threat as they ventured forward at pace.

Inside the first 35 seconds Josh Macdonald raided down the right and was well placed but shanked his cross, then Jamie Owens and skipper Craig Gott both directed headers wide of the target.

The Colliers were second best against a lively outfit – yet they had a great chance to go in front in the sixth minute when Andrew Johnson glanced wide from a Richie Slaughter cross from the right.

The high tempo continued as Macdonald went across the area from right to left but saw his effort blocked by home keeper Conor Grant.

Ashington were struggling to match Marske’s pace but visiting keeper Robert Dean was called on to push away an angled drive from Glen Taylor which bounced awkwardly in front of him.

Then, the Colliers engineered the breakthrough in the 25th minute when Tony Stephenson was upended by Dean near the byline and Gateshead referee Marc Edwards pointed to the spot. Stephenson took the kick and scored, although Dean dived the right way.

Marske’s riposte came within a minute with Grant making a vital save to thwart Reece Kelly.

But Ashington forced a spell of pressure and ought to have added a second.

A shot from Kyle Downey was taken by Dean before Stephenson – put clear by Slaughter – advanced down the right but as he closed in with only Dean to beat, he saw his effort blocked by the stopper. It was a great opportunity squandered.

Then three minutes later, James Taylor met a Johnson corner and was unfortunate to see his downward header hit the turf then spin inches over the bar.

However, on the stroke of half-time, Marske delivered a sucker punch with a leveller.

The ball found Jamie Owens whose clean left footed strike from 25 yards flew past Grant and inside the far corner.

After the interval, Dean tipped around from Downey before in the 51st minute, Lance McGlen clipped the heels of Kelly inside the box and the referee again had no hesitation in awarding another spot kick. Gott stepped forward and sent Grant the wrong way with a classic penalty.

However, the visitors had barely celebrated before skipper Johnson restored parity.

Ben Christensen swung over a cross from the left for Johnson whose glancing header left Dean helpless as it sailed into the bottom corner of the net.

Marske could so easily have regained the lead within 60 seconds as Austin Johnston fired in a terrific right footer which was goalbound until Grant dived acrobatically to his left to push away.

Incredibly the intensity of the game remained high as in Ashington’s next sorte upfield, a pass from Glen Taylor put Stephenson clean through with only Dean to beat but the striker was again denied by the keeper.

Midway through the half, Glen Taylor did exceptionally well to get to the byline and when he crossed Stephenson looked a certain scorer until a defender made a great tackle almost on the line.

Ten minutes from time a piece of class and skill by Garvie saw him coolly wriggle past one opponent in the penalty area, side step Grant then blast home despite a defender being on the line.

As Ashington pushed forward in search of an equaliser, Garvie, Macdonald and Owens all had chances for Marske to put the issue beyond doubt.

The Colliers – who played some superb football at times yet were infuriating on other occasions with their passing – will be disappointed not to have claimed a share of the spoils but will look back and reflect on those missed chances as being key turning points.

Ashington: Grant, McGlen, Christensen, Slaughter, Lumsden (Oliver 57), J Taylor, Downey, Ferrell, Stephenson, G Taylor, Johnson. Subs not used: Davison, B Middleton, Novak, Barnard.

Attendance: 158.