A far from convincing performance from Colliers

Ashington CFC's James Taylor.
Ashington CFC's James Taylor.

IT was not the most convincing of victories but nevertheless three welcome points for Ashington as they did enough to see off a challenge from basement side Newton Aycliffe at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday.

Following back to back defeats at Guisborough then at home to Spennymoor, Gary Middleton’s side got back on track.

But after a bright opening during which time they went in front through Marc Walton, it was far from a slick or ruthless performance.

Indeed, the visitors – who were hammered 8-0 at home the previous week by Billingham Town – eased their way into the contest and deservedly got back on terms and could rightly feel aggrieved to go in at half-time 2-1 down, with Andrew Johnson’s goal on the stroke of the interval coming completely against the run of play.

But the Colliers did improve after the break and gave themselves some breathing space when James Taylor rifled home his first goal of the campaign just after the hour mark.

Middleton, who named the same starting line-up which narrowly lost in midweek to defending champions Spennymoor, saw his side take an early lead – after a third minute scare.

That came when Danny Earl chased a through pass but was thwarted by a block tackle outside the box by home keeper Karl Dryden.

Six minutes later Walton registered his 15th goal of the season.

Chris Bell picked up a loose ball in midfield and found Andrew Johnson down the left. The striker advanced before laying the ball on a plate for Walton, who had peeled away to the far post, to stab in despite the attentions of a defender.

Midway through the period, Ashington put together a good move which involved Bell, Johnson, Taylor and Walton, which ended with the latter’s tame effort being held by the keeper.

Aycliffe had already begun to get a foothold in the game and they fired a warning on the half hour when Dryden was forced to push over a header from John Close following a corner on the right by Stuart Owen.

However in the 34th minute, the visitors claimed a deserved equaliser when the determined Lambert crossed from the byline for Martin Young to blast home at the near post.

Lambert – who caused Ashington problems earlier in the season when he played for Marske United – then set up Earl whose right foot effort was saved with his legs by Dryden.

Owen side-footed wide another opportunity for the visitors – who paid a huge price as 30 seconds later, and against the run of play, Ashington regained the lead.

Walton was the provider of a pass which released Johnson in the inside left position and the striker finished superbly, curling a low shot wide of Pocklington and just inside the far post for his eighth goal of the campaign.

Before the interval, Walton capitalised on an error and instinctively fired over from the edge of the box, then after the break, his free-kick from 25 yards drifted wide.

Johnson, Walton and Andrew Dugdale all had chances then Lambert went past Dryden but his cross was cut out by Matty Grieve.

In the 62nd minute, the Colliers effectively wrapped the game up with a cool and smart finish from Taylor.

Walton latched onto a cross from Craig Scott and when his shot was blocked the ball ran to Taylor who cleverly side stepped a defender before lashing home.

Ashington: Dryden, Williams, Scott, Antony, Atkin, Grieve, Taylor, Dugdale, Walton, Johnson, Bell (Storey 82 mins). Subs not used: Bainbridge, Benjamin, O’Dea, Little.

Attendance: 240.