Walton debt to team-mate Johnson

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MARC Walton took his tally of goals for the season to 28 after hitting a hat-trick in the final 20 minutes as the Colliers trounced relegation threatened Billingham Town 8-1 at Woodhorn Lane in midweek.

But although Walton’s second and third strikes were out of the top drawer, Ashington’s leading marksman surprisingly admitted afterwards that they did not rank as being amongst his best.

“They were decent strikes, but I have scored better – like the one I netted against Whitley Bay at Hillheads earlier in the campaign,” he said.

Home supporters were off their seats in the closing stages of the Ebac Northern League division one clash as Walton, who had the simple task of slotting into an empty net from close range for his opener, lashed home right footed from distances of 16 and 20 yards, with the latter goal being described on a social network site by one fan as being ‘world class’.

The treble was the perfect tonic and delayed present for Walton, who only recently celebrated his 26th birthday.

But the front man was quick to pay tribute to team-mate Andrew Johnson, whose brace earlier in the clash had put him on level terms with Walton on 25 goals.

“Andrew laid the ball on a plate for my first goal, and whilst I have scored 28 this season, I reckon Andrew has made 15 of them for me,” he said.

“I’ve got to admit that even with a tap in for my first, the goal spurred me on.

“My touch hadn’t been there but confidence suddenly returned.”

Before the start of the season, Walton set himself a target of 40 goals.

He added: “I missed eight games recently due to a calf injury otherwise I would have been closer.

“I had a strain but it then developed into a slight tear as I tried to rush back.

“I’ve still got that target in mind and with the number of games we have remaining I reckon I can still reach that figure.”

Paul Antony (2) and Matty Grieve were Ashington’s other marksmen on the night with Nicky Martin claiming a sole reply for the Teesiders.

The emphatic victory was not a record at the Lane, however, as the Colliers defeated Ryton 8-0 in mid-December during the 2010-11 campaign.

Meanwhile Ashington’s away clash against Newton Aycliffe on Saturday was postponed after the Moore Lane Park pitch failed a 10.30am inspection due to a waterlogged surface.

On Saturday, Ashington host Darlington 1883 (3pm) then the Colliers prepare for their Northumberland Senior Cup semi-final clash away to North Shields on Wednesday, March 20.