Ashington close home campaign with ten men and a defeat

Ashington keeper Conor Grant . Picture by Ian Appleby -
Ashington keeper Conor Grant . Picture by Ian Appleby -

Ashington ended their home programme with a 2-1 defeat against defending champions Marske United at Woodhorn Lane on Thursday night.

James Harmison fired the Colliers in front but shortly afterwards Connor Hood levelled.

The game was decided 20 minutes from time when Ashington had goalkeeper Conor Grant sent off for a foul in the area, with Nathan Mulligan netting the winner from the resultant penalty.

Ironically it was the visitors keeper Robert Dean who made a string of outstanding saves in the first period to keep his side in the contest.

From the kick-off there were a succession of chances with Liam O’Sullivan heading over for Marske after only 90 seconds.

Damien Stevens homed in showing his pace and looked a certain scorer until his effort was brilliantly blocked by Dean, who then held from Kyle Oliver.

In the fifth minute, Stevens had another opening. Jake Trodd and Lee Scott combined and when the former crossed and the latter laid the ball off, Stevens mis-hit an effort wide.

On the quarter hour, Markse pieced together a flowing move involving Hood, Mulligan and Reece Kelly, with O’Sullivan having a shot held by Grant, then a cross from Scott Gunn was headed away from the danger zone by a defender.

Midway through the period, Scott glanced wide from a Stevens cross, Matty Grieve found Stevens who was denied by Dean, then when play switched, a cross by Lee Brookbank was headed away to safety by Ben Christensen.

Grieve made a great block to foil Hood and Kelly’s shot was deflected before Scott Gunn was denied by Dean.

Just before the half-time whistle, Scott found Stevens who rattled the post, but the assistant had flagged for an offside infringement.

The second half was only 29 seconds old when a drive from Mulligan was deflected wide before the Colliers went ahead in the 53rd minute.

An in-swinging corner from the left by Oliver was glanced on by Grieve and Harmison prodded home from close range.

However, Marske drew level only four minutes later when Hood latched onto a back header to fire wide of Grant.

Marske skipper Adam Wheatley cleared in the nick of time with a free kick from Oliver on route to Harmison, then a 25 yards restart by Mulligan struck the angle of post and crossbar.

However, the defining moment arrived when Grant collected the ball then allowed it to slip from his grasp. Kelly prodded it forward with the home stopper upending him. Referee Simon Clayton pointed to the spot before red carding Grant with Scott taking over in goal, and Mulligan sent the replacement keeper the wrong way from the penalty.

Deep into stoppage time Ashington had strong claims for a handling offence in the Marske area turned down before the final whistle signalled an 11th home league defeat of the campaign for Steve Harmison’s side.

Ashington: Grant, Christensen, Trodd, Taylor, J Harmison, Grieve (Bell 73), Gunn, Downey (Harvey 82), Stevens, Scott, Oliver (Dunn 82). Sub not used: Hayton.

Attendance: 144.