Ashington come from behind to beat Wallsend

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Ashington were able to pick their strongest looking team of the season so far for the trip to Wallsend, with Mick Wood adding a physical presence in the backs.

The visitors had to withstand early pressure but good defence in their own 22 kept the home side from taking an early lead.

The first scrum took place after 12 minutes and both sides had picked big packs, however, Ashington’s forwards proved to be the stronger throughout with veterans Mark Watson and John Goose both having outstanding games.

Midway through the first half Ashington had a period of sustained pressure and a lovely side-stepping break from Justin Niblock saw the scrum-half tackled seven meters from the line. He was then penalised for holding on to the ball, a result of the support being too slow.

Ashington continued to press and were unlucky to be penalised seven meters out when Wallsend got away with collapsing a retreating scrum.

Then powerful winger Chris Dawson, who had his best game for the first team, was tackled into touch five meters out.

Both sides failed to take their first half chances which meant their was no score at half-time.

Wallsend used the wind advantage well early in the second half, kicking into the Ashington bottom corner, a tactic Ashington had failed to use.

From the lineout, scrum-half Coburn nipped around the front to score a converted try to give the home side a 7-0 lead after 50 minutes.

Ashington then had Merryweather sin binned for preventing a quick tap penalty.

Down to 14 men Ashington went further behind as Wallsend extended their lead with a second, this time unconverted, try.

The travelling supporters feared the worst but Ashington fought back and from a catch and drive at the lineout, prop Mark Watson drove over from two yards out for the try to bring the score back to 10-5.

Ashington then had a period of sustained pressure but were penalised again at the scrum when driving towards the line.

Gareth Newman who was now playing in his preferred No. 8 position and he crashed over from the scrum to level the scores.

Player coach Stuart Rosser added the conversion to give Ashington a deserved two-point lead with ten minutes left.

To Wallsend’s credit they fought back strongly and camped in the Ashington 22 for most of the final minutes, however, the visitors’ commitment was great and young flanker Steesh Turner had an outstanding defensive game.

With this win Ashington moved of the bottom of the table to be replaced by next week’s opponents South Tyneside College – another must win game. Kick-off 3pm at the Recreation Ground.