Ashington 0-2 Newcastle Benfield
Two pieces of quality in the second half - both of which culminated in goals – represented the only highlights of a dour end of season contest between Ashington and Newcastle Benfield at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday, writes Brian Bennett.
Joseph Hailes and substitute Scott McCarthy netted for the Lions to lead their side to a deserved win but it was a disappointing display from the Colliers especially after their 6-1 away victory against relegated Billingham Synthonia only Thursday night.
The first period was a non-entity with a minimal number of opportunities and supporters had to wait a full quarter hour for the first sniff at goal with Josh Scott’s rasping effort from fully 25 yards parried then held by home ‘keeper Conor Grant.
Midway through the half the visitors countered down the right flank through Jake Orrell but when he crossed, Luke Carr was stretching and lashed wide. Benfield stopper Andrew Grainger had been a spectator but he was finally called into action on 37 minutes collecting a cross from the right then with half time approaching, Jake Turnbull slotted the ball out wide for Damien Stevens whose right footer hit the side netting.
The game sprung to life 90 seconds after the break as the visitors went ahead. Paul Brayson weaved into the penalty area and being well marshalled by Wayne Buchanan, laid off to Scott. He cleverly beat his marker and when he fired the ball across, Hailes was on hand to apply the finishing touch. After the goal, the Colliers showed more urgency – even though they created nothing - as they chased the game.
Ten minutes after replacing Dale Pearson, Lee McAndrew latched onto a through pass from Buchanan but snatched at the opportunity and consequently lobbed over from 22 yards. Ten minutes from time, McCarthy – who had replaced Scott – got possession 25 yards out and let fly with a superb left footer which arrowed into the top corner leaving Grant helpless