Ashington fall to sixth consecutive defeat with Newcastle Benfield loss
Ashington's winless sequence of results continued against Newcastle Benfield on Saturday when they crashed to a sixth consecutive defeat.
The Sam Smiths Park outfit, who earlier in the week had dumped the Colliers out of the League Cup after Paul Brayson netted in stoppage time, went nap for the second time in league meetings between the two sides this term, having wrapped up a comprehensive 5-1 win at Woodhorn Lane at the end of September.
However, despite being the better side in the first period, the Wansbeck outfit were victims of their own downfall and were punished for missing chances coupled to making mistakes.
Yet it could have been so different had Kyle Downey despatched the first opportunity of the afternoon in the seventh minute. Luke Salmon, Ben Harmison and debutant Dale Pearson worked a slick move down the left but Downey side-footed wide.
Benfield’s immediate riposte saw John Campbell stroke the ball past the post, but although Ashington continued to get behind the home defence, chances were few and far between.
Benfield’s long serving keeper Andrew Grainger held a 30-yard effort from Salmon before, in the 33rd minute, prolific marksman Brayson yet again proved to be a thorn in Ashington’s side.
After being awarded a free kick 20 yards out, Brayson stepped up to drive the ball low into the bottom corner to register his 41st goal in all competitions this season.
Before the interval, Grainger fielded an effort from Downey and within two minutes of the resumption, the midfielder laid the ball off to Shaun Henderson whose cross was headed over by Ben Harmison.
But two goals inside a minute from Campbell put Benfield into a commanding 3-0 lead.
The first in the 54th minute saw him drive home right footed then he pounced to score from the rebound after a shot from Brayson had been parried by Grant.
The flurry of goals continued as the Colliers reduced the arrears in the 58th minute when Wayne Buchanan netted with a bullet-like header from a Henderson free kick swung over from the right touchline
Incredibly the deficit could have been narrowed even further when Downey threaded the ball through to Ben Harmison whose left footed effort was blocked by Grainger.
Campbell came within inches of completing his hat-trick when he struck the post, but on 72 minutes Benfield widened the gap to 4-1 when Scott McCarthy headed in off the post from a restart.
Grant twice denied Campbell then with seven minutes of normal time remaining, a cross from Henderson was handled inside the area by Marc Dummett. Referee Jonathan Urwin pointed to the spot and Downey made no mistake with an emphatic penalty, lashing the ball into the roof of the net.
Ashington made a valiant late push but in the 90th minute a weakly hit back pass forced Grant into a hurried clearance which fell to Matthew Cornish who calmly advanced before stroking the ball home.
On Saturday Ashington are at home to defending champions Shildon, kick-off 3pm.
Ashington: Grant, Henderson, Salmon, Downey, J Harmison, Buchanan, Sampson (McAndrew 68), S Bell, McGorrigan, B Harmison, Pearson. Subs not used: Christensen, R Bell, Bulford, Canham.