By Brian Bennett
Penrith’s hotshot striker Martyn Coleman grabbed a brace to send Ashington crashing to their third league defeat of the season at Woodhorn Lane on Tuesday night.
And whilst the home side will reflect on missed opportunities in what was a below par performance, Coleman – who netted a goal in each half – produced clinical finishes on both occasions to ensure all three points for his side.
The Cumbrians were out of the traps from the first whistle. After only 29 seconds, Coleman posed a threat with his shot cannoning off skipper Ben Christensen and clipping the upright then a cross from the right by Richard Faustino narrowly missed the far post.
Penrith had called the shots right from the word go and therefore when the Colliers took the lead in the 20th minute, the goal came against the run of play.
Ben Harmison glanced back a corner from the right from Lee McAndrew and after Andrew Bulford had mistimed a header, Harmison returned the ball into the danger zone where Bulford lashed it into the roof of the net.
Two minutes later, Harmison latched onto a clearance to lob the advancing Penrith ‘keeper Jonny Jamieson but the striker’s effort lacked power and Jordan Lawson got back to clear.
On the half hour, Coleman wriggled inside the box but his shot struck his own player.
However with five minutes of the half remaining, it was Coleman who equalised with a superbly taken opportunist goal. He raced onto a through ball, beat one defender then cut back to side step Grant and another home player before steadying himself and rifling a low right footer from 18 yards just inside the post.
As against West Auckland on Saturday, Ashington were guilty of giving the ball away – but they improved after the break and should have taken the lead on 49 minutes.
Kyle Downey showed a bit of urgency on a forward run and his pass was neatly dummied by Ben Harmison which set up an opening for Bulford 16 yards out but the striker produced a fresh air shot which allowed the Penrith defence to clear. Grant repelled a drive from Adam Main then on the hour, a delicate chip from the edge of the area by Harmison was tipped over by the back peddling Jamieson.
Substitute David Dormand volleyed over after a clearance by Grant then another turning point arrived in the 78th minute.
Ben Sampson skilfully beat the last defender which put him clear but his left footed effort was blocked by Jamieson.
Grant held onto an effort from Robbie Hebson before Coleman notched what proved to be the winner in the 81st minute.
Hebson was the provider and Coleman drilled the ball home wide of Grant.
Ashington’s last chance to force a draw came in the third minute of time added on but Dormand lofted the ball over the bar.
On Saturday, Ashington are at home to Chester le Street (3pm).
Ashington: Grant, Henderson, Tiffoney, Antony, Christensen, Buchanan, Sampson, Downey, Bulford (Dormand 70 minutes), B Harmison, McAndrew (O’Reilly 63 minutes). Subs not used: J Harmison, S Bell, R Bell.
Referee: David Fitzpatrick (Durham)