DEFENDING champions Spennymoor extended their winning sequence to nine matches and remain second from top of the Ebac Northern League’s first division after narrowly edging a tough fought encounter against Ashington at Woodhorn Lane by the odd goal in three.
There was nothing to choose between the sides in an evenly balanced first period but it was the Moors who got their noses in front shortly before the interval with a strike from ex-Whitley Bay player Wayne Phillips.
When Steven Richardson doubled the lead early in the second period, it looked a long way back for the Colliers.
But skipper Liam Atkin’s goal on the hour gave them a lifeline and they battled through until the final whistle, but they were unable to breach the visitors goal a second time.
As a result, the Colliers lost their unbeaten home record whilst at the same time Spennymoor’s incredible run of not having conceded a goal in the league also came to an end.
It was a close tight affair right from kick-off with chances few and far between.
In the third minute, Gavin Cogden stroked wide of Karl Dryden’s right hand post, then at the other end, a darting run into the box by Chris Bell saw his effort taken at the second attempt by visitors stopper David Knight.
Ashington then enjoyed a spell of pressure and on the quarter hour, striker Marc Walton drew warm applause from the crowd for a full blooded right foot drive from a 30-yard free-kick which headed towards the top corner only for Knight to push it away to safety.
Minutes later, Bell set up another opening for Walton but his shot was blocked, then Andrew Johnson got to the byline and pulled it back for Paul Antony only for his effort to go across the face of the goal.
On the half hour, Dryden pushed over a header from Michael Laws after a cross from Keith Graydon, and the keeper was again called into action to deny Craig Ruddy.
However in the 40th minute, Ashington were caught sleeping from a Spennymoor set piece – and paid a heavy price as Phillips opened the scoring.
Graydon played a short corner to Phillips lurking just outside the penalty area and the midfielder was allowed all the time in the world to pick his spot just inside Dryden’s right hand post with a left foot shot from 20 yards.
Six minutes into the second half the Moors increased their lead.
Graydon’s 22-yard effort was only parried by Dryden and Richardson was perfectly placed to head over the keeper and into the net.
But Gary Middleton’s side reduced the leeway on the hour with Liam Atkin scoring his first goal of the season.
A free kick by Gareth Williams was helped on by Walton to Johnson whose effort was blocked, but when the ball was returned to the far post, Atkin showed excellent control before lashing wide of Knight.
Cogden and substitute Mark Davison had chances for the visitors before James Taylor fired wide for the Colliers after a cross from the right by Walton.
Dryden thwarted Ruddy then substitute Callum Little skied the ball over after a low cross from the right by Johnson.
The entire second period was played in incessant rain – which turned even heavier in the final ten minutes, during which time Ruddy drove wide after a pull back by Phillips.
Ashington: Dryden, Williams (Little 72 mins), Scott, Antony, Atkin, Grieve, Taylor, Dugdale, Walton (Bainbridge 78 mins), Johnson, Bell (Benjamin 78 mins). Sub not used: Storey.