Ashington 2-3 Stockton Town
Ebac Northern League first division newcomers Stockton Town brought Ashington back down to earth with a bump at Woodhorn Lane on Tuesday night after recording a 3-2 victory, writes Brian Bennett.
The managerless Colliers went into the contest buoyed by Saturday’s tremendous display and 5-1 win over local rivals North Shields but the in-form Teesiders – with four wins and a draw from their last five matches - cemented a first ever visit to Wansbeck by taking all the spoils in a five goal thriller.
The scoring began in the 11th minute when Lee McAndrew lost possession in the middle of the park and after the visitors had made inroads and Sonni Coleman had gone into a 50-50 challenge with home ‘keeper Conor Grant, the ball ran free to Fred Woodhouse who side footed in from 16 yards.
However, five minutes later, Ashington got back on terms.
Michael Chilton met a free-kick from the left by Luke Salmon to direct a header which ‘keeper Michael Arthur looked to have covered but allowed the ball to slip over the line and into the net.
Chances were at a premium but on the half hour, the visitors regained the lead. At one end, a goalbound drive from Dale Pearson was blocked then seconds later, Lewis Strafford upended Kevin Hayes just outside the area and Stockton skipper Max Craggs clipped home a superb right footed free-kick.
Nine minutes into the second period, Coleman added a crucial third for the slick Teesiders. Matthew Garbutt did the spadework to carve out the opportunity and Coleman picked his spot finding the top corner of the net from 15 yards.
Just past the hour mark, the game was in the melting pot once again. Strafford floated over a cross from the right into the box and with Callum Johnston looking to get on the end of it, a defender sent him tumbling.
Referee James Westgate pointed to the spot and Chilton send Arthur the wrong way from the resultant penalty. However a turning point arrived in the 72nd minute when Ashington midfielder David Edwards was shown a straight red card following an off the ball offence in the centre circle. Ashington’s ten men gave their all until the finish in a half which lasted over 50 minutes - but Stockton came close to adding a fourth with Craggs and Hayes flashing shots narrowly wide.
*On Saturday, Ashington are at home to Hall Road Rangers in the FA Vase (3pm).
Ashington: Grant, Strafford, Salmon, Edwards, Scott, Buchanan, McAndrew, Hornsby (Stephenson 60 minutes), Chilton, Pearson, Johnston. Subs not used: Antony, J Harmison, R Bell, Glasper (gk).