Defeat sends Ashington to mid-table slot
Whitley Bay 2-2 Ashington
Ashington suffered a bout of sea sickness at the end of this Ebac Northern League clash against Whitley Bay at Hillheads on Saturday.
The coast side – nicknamed The Seahorses – were jubilant after substitute Kyle Patton scored a dramatic equaliser in the fourth minute of stoppage time whilst the Wansbeck side were naturally feeling the exact opposite.
Trailing to Alex Kempster’s opener on the half hour then feeling off colour and second best for the remainder of the first period, the Colliers found a miracle cure during the break.
In what was a complete transformation, Ashington dominated the second half and turned the game on its head with Luke Salmon bringing them level before Lee McAndrew netted his first goal of the campaign. And after withstanding late pressure from the Bay, it looked as if the Colliers were going to hold on …… until Patton’s late, late show.
In truth, the game was exciting from start to finish. Early doors, Ben Harmison had a shot held by home ‘keeper Tom Flynn then Thibault Charmey headed wide from a right wing corner by Tom Potter.
The thrills and spills continued as McAndrew played a ball across the face of the Bay goal then Liam Brooks fired wide after the ball had skimmed off Wayne Buchanan’s head.
In the 12th minute Salmon went down in the area but referee Jonathan Urwin turned down penalty shouts then Salmon’s throw in was glanced on by Harmison to Dale Pearson whose first time effort was directed straight at Flynn. Whitley put together a flowing move with Andy Robertson narrowly failing to connect with a cross played into the area. Kempster began to cause problems down the left flank and after Conor Grant had saved at the second attempt from the Bay midfielder, Kempster then cut inside from the left and fizzed a shot from the edge of the box inches wide.
Two minutes later, Brooks and Potter combined to set up Josh Nearney whose blistering drive from 20 yards stung the palms of Grant.
Then in the 31st minute, the Bay took the lead in bizarre circumstances. Kempster got possession out on the left and when his cross was missed by Lewis Strafford, the ball crept wide of Grant and just inside the post. Referee Urwin ruled out a second penalty claim when Pearson made inroads into the box and went down under challenge before Whitley squandered three great opportunities before the break.
Potter ought to have doubled the lead after Bell conceded possession and when Kempster crossed, Potter skied a first time effort over the bar from 12 yards. Robertson somehow missed hitting the target from close range then a free kick, whipped in with pace on it by Potter whistled past the far post. Ashington came out a rejuvenated side after the interval and inside the opening ten minutes, turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead. Four minutes in, Salmon’s initial shot was blocked but the ball rebounded straight back to the full back who curled home a superb right footer from 15 yards wide of Flynn and just inside the post.
Minutes later, substitute James Harmison attempted an audacious effort with a free-kick from ten yards inside his own half which went just wide but the referee ordered the restart to be taken again. However, in the 55th minute, Ashington went ahead. Pearson found Ben Harmison down the left and when the tall striker whipped over a low cross into the danger zone, McAndrew – steaming in at the far post – slotted home from close range. Ashington had great chances to increase their advantage. After wriggling past Ross Wilkinson, Harmison supplied another gem of a cross where Buchanan’s header was deflected behind for a corner.
McAndrew weaved inside his marker but his cross went just wide then Salmon drove inches wide of Flynn’s left hand post. Still the action continued unabated and minutes after being introduced as a substitute for the Bay, Matty Cornish unleashed a power drive which thudded against the bar with Grant rooted to the spot. With quarter of an hour remaining,
Tom Flynn produced the save of the game which proved pivotal. A brilliant through pass from Paul Antony released Ben Harmison whose skill saw him outfox Flynn but when it appeared the tall striker only had to add the finishing touch, his effort was magnificently tipped away by the ‘keeper who also denied Pearson. Grant held onto efforts from Kempster and Ross Wilkinson but in the 94th minute, Whitley’s never-say-die attitude culminated in an equaliser. Skipper Callum Anderson launched a free kick from inside his own half which was flicked on by Wilkinson for Patton who headed wide of Grant.
*On Saturday (October 7), Ashington are at home to Dunston UTS (3pm) then the Colliers travel to face Northallerton in the first round of the Brooks Mileson Memorial League Cup on Tuesday (October 10).