Ashington outdone at West Allotment by two former players
Two former Ashington players were instrumental in sending the Colliers tumbling to defeat against West Allotment Celtic at a saturated Whitley Park ground on Friday night.
Striker Tony Stephenson notched what proved to be the winning goal just past the midway point in the first half whilst three outstanding saves from goalkeeper Chris Bannon also proved pivotal.
However, the Wansbeck side frittered away chance after chance in the second period and eventually fell to their 11th away defeat of the campaign.
As always, the surface at Benton looked in pristine condition but heavy and persistent rain which began mid-afternoon continued to fall and throw a question mark over whether the game would last the 90 minutes.
However, despite conditions failing to improve, the pitch stood up to the test.
Ben Harmison headed wide from a James Harmison cross then in the ninth minute, Bannon came to his side’s rescue. Luke Salmon and Ben Sampson exchanged a swift one-two which put the former through but the stopper came out smartly to block.
Ben Richardson was denied and Dale Pearson had an effort deflected wide before the hosts opened the scoring through Stephenson in the 24th minute.
Kallum McGlen provided the cross which saw Stephenson – allowed the luxury of a free header from four yards – find the net with the ball going in off the bar.
On the half hour, Mason Stephenson made a timely clearance from a Shaun Henderson cross into the box then McGlen had a golden opportunity but sliced wide.
Three minutes into the second period, Richardson let fly with a left footed effort from distance which took a deflection but was then tipped onto the bar by Bannon.
In the 52nd minute, Tony Stephenson found McGlen whose shot was held by Ashington keeper Conor Grant.
On the hour, Sampson and Salmon combined and when the latter crossed low, Pearson looked a certain scorer until his side footed shot stuck in the mud and was claimed by Bannon.
Wayne Buchanan and Ben Harmison both drove wide of the upright but as Ashington continued to go in search of an equaliser, they left themselves more open at the back.
West could easily have doubled their tally on the break with substitute Shaun Reay and McGlen both having opportunities.
Then six minutes from time, Sampson slipped the ball through for Pearson but his goalbound effort was brilliantly pushed aside by Bannon.
On Wednesday Ashington travel to face neighbours Morpeth Town, kick-off 7.30pm, then are without a game on Saturday before they host Whitley Bay at Woodhorn Lane on Tuesday, March 14, with a 7.30pm kick-off.
Ashington: Grant, Henderson, Christensen, Antony, J Harmison (Bulford 81), Buchanan, Sampson, Richardson (McGorrigan 71 ), Pearson, B Harmison, Salmon. Subs not used: Tiffoney, Downey, Hall.