Ashington make it three wins in four games after beating Jarrow Roofing
Damien Stevens scored his seventh goal in five games for Ashington in their third win from their last four matches as they completed a season's double over Jarrow at Boldon Sports Ground on Saturday.
The hot shot striker – forced to miss the midweek game against North Shields through injury – returned to the side in style
His timely second half double helped seal a 2-1 success over defending league champions Marske United on Thursday, then with 20 minutes remaining in Saturday’s contest, his goal effectively secured all three points.
Jarrow had netted 19 goals in their last four games and they looked lively and threatening in the opening exchanges.
A free kick by Adam Rundle was headed away by Michael Dixon from inside the six-yard-box, then Rundle set up prolific ex-Whitley Bay marksman Paul Chow whose right footer was pushed to safety by keeper Conor Grant.
James Fairley was prominent and a run and cross by the winger was cleared from the danger zone by James Harmison.
Indeed such was Jarrow’s early dominance that it was the 13th minute before the Colliers carved out their first chance, with Ben Harmison heading well wide from an Andrew Johnson free kick.
Shaun Vipond stroked wide before Ashington took a stranglehold on the game with two quality goals in the space of seven minutes from Adam Harvey and Michael Dixon.
Harvey broke the deadlock midway through the period as he picked up possession, cut inside then curled a low left footer from 25 yards which beat the outstretched hands of keeper Dan Regan.
On the half hour, a quickly taken free kick by Johnson rebounded off a defender and fell into the path of Dixon, who side-footed his effort from 30 yards inside the top of the net.
Now firmly in the ascendancy, Ashington did not want the half to end. Ex-Collier Michael Laws intercepted a low cross by Johnson, Stevens fired into the side-netting then the latter missed out on a great opportunity right on the stroke of half-time.
A free kick by James Taylor fell to Stevens six yards out but his effort hit the top of the bar.
At the other end in time added on, Michael Mackay skied over.
Jarrow began the second period in determined fashion, thrusting concerted pressure on the visitors goal, but Ashington’s back four were resolute and Grant continued his excellent form when called upon.
Ben Harmison headed wide in one counter attack then Mackay had a shot deflected for a corner.
On the hour, Stevens fed Johnson who went diagonally past Regan but away from goal and when he crossed Stevens was thwarted by a defender’s tackle.
Back came Jarrow and after Grant had fielded a shot from James Fairley, a volley from Chow following a right wing corner flashed just wide.
Grant brilliantly parried aside an angled drive from Fairley and it proved to be a turning point as in the 69th minute Stevens scored Ashington’s third.
Johnson claimed the assist with a ball played through the middle and after Regan had blocked Stevens’ initial effort, the ball fell kindly for the striker who steered it into the net.
Ten minutes later, a scintillating move, by far the best of the game, cut Jarrow open. One touch football from Ben Harmison and Johnson set up substitute Andrew Bulford but he lashed over, then a cross from sub Kyle Oliver was glanced on by Johnson for Ben Harmison who volleyed wide.
Kyle Downey and Bulford combined in an attack which ended with Harvey’s shot from 20 yards clipping the post, then with time running out, Grant made a superb double block to deny Mackay and sub Kerry Hedley.
On Thursday, April 14, Ashington host Sunderland RCA before the Colliers, without a game on Saturday, travel to face Norton & Stockton Ancients on Wednesday, April 20.
Ashington: Grant, Taylor (Oliver 72), Dunn, Dixon, J Harmison, Grieve, Harvey, Downey, Stevens (Bulford 75), B Harmison, Johnson. Subs not used: Gunn, Hall.
Gareth Bainbridge scored a 90th minute winner for North Shields against Ashington at Woodhorn Lane on Tuesday night.