A miserable display from Ashington are they crushed by Steelmen

Ashington defender James Harmison celebrates after scoring the first equaliser in their defeat at Consett. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com
Ashington defender James Harmison celebrates after scoring the first equaliser in their defeat at Consett. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com

Although Ashington pulled off a 2-1 win three seasons ago, there success rate at Consett’s old ground was indifferent.

Last year the Colliers suffered a 3-2 reverse at the County Durham club’s new headquarters in Delves Lane on the all-weather surface and Saturday’s latest adventure saw the unwanted and almost recurring trend continue.

To win at Belle View Stadium - like West Auckland’s Darlington Road ground - seems to be an almost insurmountable ask.

However, twice behind in the latest clash, the Colliers rallied on both occasions to go in at half-time all square.

But inexplicably, they failed – quite miserably - to get into any kind of stride post break and were repeatedly punished for giving the ball away.

It was not a performance which Ashington or their management team and loyal band of supporters wanted.

And they also featured in a bit of history making along the way as Consett’s prolific striker Michael Mackay became the club’s all-time leading scorer when he grabbed the first of his brace in the second period.

Ashington manager Steve Harmison handed a debut to Dylan Williamson, signed from neighbours Bedlington, and the youngster made an immediate impact as within the first minute he surged down the right flank and crossed an inviting ball which was intercepted.

But more significantly the home side edged ahead in the fourth minute through former Collier Josh Gray.

Mackay’s shot was blocked by Ashington keeper Conor Grant but Gray picked up the rebound to steer into the net despite an attempt to clear on the line by Wayne Buchanan.

Consett had skipper Dan Madden and Calvin Smith yellow carded before Grant clutched from Michael Pearson and Danny Craggs; a Mackay effort was blocked then Gray fired just over.

Home keeper Christopher Elliott held from Joe Moscrop, but it was a brief respite with wave after wave of Consett pressure.

Mark Eccles was allowed to run across the area where his shot was taken by Grant then the overworked stopper denied Gray.

Despite the pressure, Ashington got back on terms in the 33rd minute. Kyle Oliver’s free kick was glanced on by Glen Taylor for James Harmison to net at the far post with a firm header from six yards across Elliott and into the corner.

But it took Consett only three minutes to regain the lead. Gray, who constantly tormented the Ashington defence in the first half, pulled the ball back for Matthew Slocombe who lashed a right footed drive which found the net via the underside of the bar.

But three minutes from the break the Colliers levelled a second time. Williamson was fouled near to the byline by Eccles and after referee Scott Taylor had pointed to the spot, Glen Taylor sent Elliott the wrong way.

Within ten minutes of the resumption, a sizzling effort from Chris Moore put Consett in front again. He wriggled inside from the right then left Grant helpless with a thunderous drive into the roof of the net.

Mackay entered the history books in the 72nd minute with a clinical finish past Grant before a 30 yarder from Gray smacked against the bar.

Ashington had struggled to make an impact and in the 86th minute after Gray had reached the ball before Grant, substitute Lewis Davison made an excellent block only for Mackay to pounce and net.

Then in the fourth minute of stoppage time, substitute Luke Sullivan seized on an error by Buchanan to slot home the sixth.

Ashington: Grant, Christensen, McGlen, Downey, Harmison (Davison 75), Buchanan, Williamson, Oliver (Robson 88), Airey (Walton 77), G Taylor, Moscrop. Sub not used: Barnard.

On Saturday, March 7, Ashington are away to Bishop Auckland (3pm) then travel to face title contenders Shildon at Dean Street on Wednesday, March 11.