Ashington receive standing ovation after win over Sunderland Ryhope CW
Ashington received a standing ovation from their supporters on Saturday which was also National non-league weekend - after going nap against Sunderland Ryhope CW at Woodhorn Lane.
A goal in each half from striker Damien Stevens put the Colliers on the way to a third victory of the season – before three strikes of the highest quality in the final ten minutes from Kyle Downey and substitutes Ben Sampson and Ben Harmison made the result even more emphatic.
The Wansbeck outfit – boosted by Monday’s 1-1 draw against FA Vase holders Morpeth Town – continued where they left off by taking the lead in the fifth minute with an opportunist effort from Stevens.
The forward latched onto a misplaced pass from a defender, turned on a sixpence then rifled a 20 yarder wide of ‘keeper Christopher Rookes.
On a pitch looking in pristine condition, a pull back by Andrew Bulford was hacked away from the six yards box by David Gordon then Bulford glanced on a clearance from ‘keeper Conor Grant to Stevens whose instinctive lob from 22 yards dropped inches wide of the upright.
Ryhope’s first real threat came in the 34th minute when a left footed shot from Thomas Bott was saved by Grant diving to his left.
Chances had been at a premium in the first period and the trend continued after the break – until Ashington turned on the style in a pulsating final half hour.
Stevens had a goalbound shot blocked then within a minute, the same player unleashed a terrific left footer which rattled against the crossbar.
However on 66 minutes, an error by Leon Ryan was punished to the full by Stevens who advanced on goal before slotting wide of Rookes from 16 yards.
Five minutes later, a cross from the left by James Ellis saw Conor Winter direct a thumping header which crashed against the bar.
But in an action packed finale, Ashington – who introduced Ben Sampson and Ben Harmison for the last 20 minutes – ran there own ‘goal of the month’ competition which left Ryhope numb.
Kyle Downey made it 3-0 with a stunning 25 yards left footed free-kick which was a carbon copy of his strike against Chester-le-Street last week.
Two minutes later, Ben Sampson notched his first goal for the club when he ran on to a pass from Downey and curled a tremendous right foot effort from 20 yards over Rookes and into the roof of the net.
Then in the 87th minute, a neat move down the right saw Downey lay the ball off to Harmison who from a similar distance, side stepped a defender then bent a sumptuous left footer into the top corner.
On Saturday, Ashington travel to face Albion Sports in the FA Vase. If a replay is necessary, it will take place at Woodhorn Lane on Tuesday (September 13) with a 7.45pm kick-off.
However, if there is a result in the Vase game, Steve Harmison’s side will make the short journey down the coast on Tuesday (September 13) to meet Whitley Bay at Hillheads (7.30pm kick-off).
Ashington: Grant, Henderson, Salmon, Blandford, J Harmison (Scott 46 minutes), Buchanan, Gunn (Sampson 71 minutes), Downey, Stevens (B Harmison 70 minutes), Bulford, Bell. Subs not used: Farrell, Dunn.
Referee: Helen Conley