Ashington lead twice but are held by Marske
Ashington extended their unbeaten league run to five matches on Tuesday night when they shared the spoils with Marske United in a pulsating 2-2 draw.
The Colliers were twice ahead courtesy of goals from Ben Harmison and David Dormand, but the Teessiders levelled for a second time with quarter of an hour to go.
Even after that, and despite the visitors being reduced to ten men following Dale Mulligan’s red card, the pendulum continued to swing from side to side until the final whistle.
But fans at Woodhorn Lane witnessed one of the most open and end to end contests for years.
After torrential rain the previous day, the pitch, which had passed a morning inspection, looked in pristine condition following outstanding work by grounds men Scott Robson and Graham Chambers.
An unusual aspect of the game saw both goalkeepers, Conor Grant for Ashington and Robert Dean for Marske, named as respective captains.
The Wansbeck side got off to a great start as Shaun Henderson was fouled in the area by Danny Newby after only 50 seconds. Referee Stu Kyle, after looking to see if there was an advantage, pointed to the spot and Ben Harmison sent Dean the wrong way from the spot.
Marske responded with recent signing Curtis Round off target then Grant tipped over a cross shot from the same player.
The home stopper, who was an inspiration to his teammates with an outstanding display, then foiled Glen Butterworth with Peter Bulmer’s follow-up being cleared off the line by Henderson.
Marske drew level in the 16th minute as Danny Earl latched onto a through ball and when his initial effort was brilliantly parried by Grant, the forward kept his cool to slot home the rebound.
Paul Antony went close with a clever back flick before Grant foiled Earl on two occasions.
In the next minute, the Colliers regained the lead after a surging run from Luke Salmon. He fed the ball to Dan O’Reilly whose right footer from 25 yards smacked against the bar, but the ball fell into the path of Dormand who rifled into the net.
Ashington could have added another on the half hour when following an Antony corner, a cross from Shaun Bell saw Ben Harmison’s header tipped away by Dean.
In the 50th minute, Round fired narrowly over and Aaron Ramsbottom was denied by Grant.
Then at the half way point, a lobbed through pass from Ben Sampson found Dormand who netted with a spectacular effort only to be ruled offside.
In the 69th minute, Marske introduced James Risbrough for Bulmer and within five minutes the substitute levelled.
The visitors broke from an Ashington corner with Risbrough despatching a low left footer across Grant and inside the far post.
Then three minutes from the end of normal time, Sampson’s through ball released Andrew Bulford. The sub was brought down by Dale Mulligan who was promptly sent off and from the free kick 20 yards out, James Harmison’s piledriver whistled just over the bar.
On Saturday, Ashington are at home to Bishop Auckland, kick-off 3pm.
Ashington: Grant, Henderson, Salmon, Antony, J Harmison, Buchanan, Sampson, S Bell, Dormand (Bulford 82), B Harmison, O’Reilly. Subs not used: Downey, Christensen, Glasper.