Ashington back to their old ways with defeat at Consett

James Taylor slots the ball past the Consett keeper to equalise for Ashington shortly before half-time. Picture by Ian Appleby
James Taylor slots the ball past the Consett keeper to equalise for Ashington shortly before half-time. Picture by Ian Appleby

Delving back through the history books sees that only on the odd occasion have Ashington returned home with a victory from an away day trip to Consett.

The season before last, Gary Middleton’s side did pull off a 2-1 result which represented the club’s first win in eight attempts.

But at the Steelmen’s brand new ground on Saturday – and on a bitterly cold afternoon – the Colliers reverted back to a former trend by going down by the odd goal in five with Consett’s potent strike force of Luke Sullivan and Michael Mackay doing the damage.

The visitors – who struggled to get to grips with the 3G surface in the early stages – found themselves trailing as early as the fifth minute with Sullivan – the league’s hottest marksman – taking his goals haul to 27.

The strike culminated from a slick move involving Gilberto Chapim and Mackay, and when the latter laid the ball off to Sullivan, he gave keeper Karl Dryden no chance with a crisp left foot drive.

Ryan Bell directed a free header wide from a right wing corner before the Colliers eventually came into proceedings.

After a 20-yard effort from Kyle Downey had been taken at the second attempt by keeper Christopher Elliott, Martin Brittain lashed over following a cross from the right by Craig Scott.

Just past the quarter hour mark, Glen Taylor moved past Elliott but the stopper recovered to get a vital touch and divert the danger, then Calvin Smith fired over after good approach work from Ryan Bell.

Within the space of 60 seconds there were chances at either end.

Dryden dived to his right to palm away a low effort from home skipper Carl Piecha, then Andrew Johnson’s intelligent ball split the Consett defence and sent Glen Taylor through with only Elliott to beat. However, the striker dragged his shot wide from the edge of the area with the custodian advancing towards him.

Then with two minutes of the half remaining, James Taylor got the Colliers back on terms with his third goal of the season.

David Carson did the spadework, holding the ball up and rolling his marker before releasing Taylor who had made a great overlapping run down the right. The full back advanced then finished well with a right foot shot between Elliott and his near post.

On the balance of play it was a fully deserved equaliser – but the home side restored their lead within a minute of the second half commencing.

Anthony Lund played the ball across from the left where Mackay swept the ball into the net.

And within seconds, it required an excellent block by Ben Christensen to prevent another from Sullivan who later went close with a 20-yard free kick.

Glen Taylor lashed over and Craig Scott had a shot deflected before midway through the half before the Steelmen added a crucial third.

Once again it was Lund who was the provider, slotting the ball through for Mackay whose left footer appeared to find the net after taking a deflection off Dryden.

Brittain supplied crosses from the left which saw Glen Taylor clip over; Carson’s shot was spilled by Elliott and Johnson head over.

In the 90th minute, Brittain again put the ball into the danger area which was volleyed home from close range by substitute Sam Norris.

In two minutes of time added on, the only opportunity fell to Mackay who lofted over with a first time shot.

Ashington go first footing in the New Year as they travel to face neighbours Whitley Bay on Saturday, January 4, 3pm, before Middleton’s men go to Carlisle on Tuesday, January 7, where they face title aspirants Celtic Nation.

Ashington: Dryden, J Taylor, Oliver (Briggs 78 mins), Downey (Norris 58 mins), C Scott, Christensen, Brittain, Johnson, Carson, G Taylor, Lough. Subs not used: Blandford, Walton, L Scott.