Ashington edge ever closer to safety

Ashington are not out of the relegation mire, but two massive victories in the space of four days has helped to alleviate the threat at Woodhorn Lane.

Fresh from a well deserved win over title contenders Shildon in midweek, they brushed aside one of their rivals in the scrap at the bottom end of the table on Saturday to move onto 41 points.

The previous weekend the Colliers had been licking their wounds after a heavy defeat at Bishop Auckland. Now the vibes within the club are positive and upbeat.

Manager Steve Harmison had said that winning at Shildon, where Glen Taylor notched a superb hat-trick in a 4-3 win, would mean nothing unless his outfit got the right result against West Allotment.

And the boss, who had to reckon without Taylor, could not have asked for a better start to settle nerves as Tony Stephenson fired them ahead in only the second minute.

James Harmison headed forward a free kick from the left by Kyle Oliver and Stephenson fired past Ryan Beale.

Allotment’s first sniff came in the eighth minute when Sean Reid’s header from a Kallum McGlen corner was deflected behind before the Colliers came again. A one-two between Andrew Johnson and debutant Jonathan Giles saw a cross from the former skim the head of the incoming James Loughborough.

Closer still on the half hour was Johnson, who took down a cross from the right by Lance McGlen but saw Beale get his fingertips to the ball and divert his effort onto the post.

The visitors eased their way into the contest with ex-Collier Marc Walton applying a weak connection on a cross which was easily dealt with by Conor Grant.

Winger Michael Bell threatened briefly with a couple of raids down the right flank, his first cross being intercepted by Harmison whilst from his second, Walton unleashed a sizzling effort which scraped the top of the bar.

It proved to be a key turning point as 35 seconds later Ashington doubled their advantage with a great finish from Williamson.

Johnson was the provider with an intelligent pass into the area where Williamson applied a cool first touch then let fly with a ferocious right footer which flew into the corner.

It was the perfect pre-interval boost, and was even more significant five minutes into the second period as Reid found Marc Allen whose effort thudded against the base of the post.

However, midway through the half Ashington put the game out of sight with a third. The adventurous Williamson used his pace to weave inside two defenders and when he crossed the on-rushing Johnson made no mistake from ten yards.

But there was more to come and six minutes from time Giles capped an impressive debut with a breathtaking fourth. He picked up possession then powered a left foot screamer from fully 25 yards which rocketed into the corner of the net.

On Saturday, Ashington travel to Cumbria to face Penrith (3pm).

Ashington: Grant, McGlen (Robson 57), Oliver, Downey, Harmison, Buchanan, Williamson, Loughborough, Stephenson (Barratt 75), Johnson (Davison 79), Giles. Subs not used: Webb, Barnard.

Attendance: 217.