Ashington complete double over Billingham Town

Goalscorer Marc Walton in action during Ashington's 3-1 win against Billingham Town. Picture by Ian Appleby
Goalscorer Marc Walton in action during Ashington's 3-1 win against Billingham Town. Picture by Ian Appleby
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Teenage midfielder Dean Briggs scored on his full debut on Saturday as Ashington completed a quick fire league double over Billingham Town at Woodhorn Lane.

The youngster netted with an assured finish shortly after half-time to put his side two goals ahead.

But if supporters harboured thoughts of a goals glut – following the Colliers’ 8-1 victory on Teesside only a fortnight previous – they were left disappointed.

Instead, and after the visitors had replied almost instantly to half the deficit, the home side found Billingham a more resolute outfit and were more than happy when top scorer Glen Taylor struck 20 minutes from time to restore their two-goal cushion.

The game itself was nothing out of the ordinary and Ashington’s performance was certainly not top drawer.

But they not only wrapped up their fourth victory on the bounce which moved them up to fourth place in the table, they also preserved their unbeaten home record at the Lane.

With Kyle Oliver beginning a three-match suspension, manager Gary Middleton drafted Scott Blandford into the starting line-up on an afternoon where he had a full compliment of substitutes on the bench.

Inside two minites Glen Taylor headed wide then Marc Walton latched onto a Sam Norris pull back and turned only to fire the wrong side of the post.

However, once again, as on Teesside, Billingham stopper Graeme Willey pulled off several fine saves to keep his side in the contest in the first period.

His work began in the 11th minute when he pushed away a volley from skipper Andrew Johnson then denied Walton and Briggs, whilst in between the Blues had their first effort from Anthony Ormerod which went wide.

Midway through the period, Johnson played a free kick to Briggs but when he crossed, Craig Scott – looking to celebrate his birthday with a goal – headed narrowly past the post.

Willey kept out efforts from Norris and Johnson before the custodian had no chance as the Colliers took the lead in the 34th minute.

Awarded a free kick down the centre and 25 yards out for a foul on Glen Taylor, Walton curled a delightful right footer which nestled inside the far post.

Shortly before half-time and from a similar distance, Walton went close then James Taylor fired over.

Ashington made a dream start to the second period with Briggs on target.

James Taylor was the supplier of a pass to Norris which saw the ex-Newcastle Benfield winger cut inside only to see Willey block his shot. However, the ball ran invitingly into the path of Briggs, who kept a cool head and placed a right foot shot into the net.

But three minutes later, the visitors were back in the contest when Adam Ward clipped a cross from the right into the danger zone and home keeper Karl Dryden – under pressure from a visiting forward – could only push the ball into the roof of the net.

The goal gave the visitors a lift and Richard Dacombe unleashed a volley which flew narrowly wide before the Colliers – and James Taylor – thought they had added a third midway through the half.

Johnson swung over a deep corner from the left where Taylor’s firm header, directed into the opposite side, struck the inside of the post and was cleared.

However, four minutes later, Glen Taylor scored for the fifth game in a row to take his seasons tally to 13 and move his side into a 3-1 lead with an opportunist strike.

Walton glanced the ball on but Taylor still had plenty to do as he advanced down the left, beat his marker then drilled a left footer across Willey and inside the far post.

Ashington: Dryden, Lee Scott, Blandford (Moscrop 80 minutes), J Taylor (Luke Scott 88 minutes), C Scott, McGlen, Norris, Johnson, Walton (Race 83 minutes), G Taylor, Briggs. Subs not used: Dugdale, Barnard (gk)

Attendance: 230.

On Saturday, Ashington are away to Guisborough Town (3pm).