Ashington put in valiant effort but lose to Spennymoor

Ashington captain Andrew Johnson takes on Spennymoor defender Michael Laws. Picture by Ian Appleby
Ashington captain Andrew Johnson takes on Spennymoor defender Michael Laws. Picture by Ian Appleby

Ashington completed a topsy turvy week on Saturday with a home defeat to the FA Vase holders.

Dumped out of the FA Vase seven days earlier, the Colliers bounced back in fine style with a 5-1 hammering over title aspirants West Auckland in midweek before they put up a valiant effort against Spennymoor before going down by the odd goal in five.

It is an odds on bet that Colliers boss Gary Middleton will look on the defeat as being another learning curve for his own outfit.

And whilst Moors manager Jason Ainsley thought his side deserved their success, Middleton declared that he thought his outfit were unfortunate not to take any reward from the game.

Middleton’s men pushed the visitors hard and at one stage held a 2-1 lead, but that is precisely where one defining moment – amongst a few – arrived.

After a super strike from Sam Norris, Ashington’s joy at going ahead lasted a mere 55 seconds before Spennymoor drew level.

Then, after the Wansbeck side had missed a couple of marvellous opportunities, they gifted their visitors the third of what was three soft goals in the afternoon, which proved to be the all important winner.

Ashington had effort, endeavour and determination in abundance, but on a quagmire of a pitch were undone in the final 20 minutes by the guile, craft and experience of the Durham outfit.

Ainsley’s side, who had defeated the Colliers 4-0 on the opening day of the season, made an early incision as they took the lead in the sixth minute.

Kallum Griffiths played the ball into the box where nimble striker Gavin Cogden used quick feet to squeeze the ball wide of Karl Dryden. The retrieving Lee Scott slipped but even prostrate, tried desperately hard to head the ball off the line, only it was a lost cause as Cogden followed up to blast in.

However, Ashington drew level in the 13th minute from the penalty spot.

An effort from Norris had been charged down then skipper Andrew Johnson slipped the ball through for Darren Lough who was unceremoniously brought down inside the area by Griffiths.

It was a stonewall penalty which was verified by referee Mark Edwards – who had an excellent match in the middle – and Johnson stepped up to confidently stroke the ball wide of keeper Peter Jeffries and into the net.

The stopper held from Johnson before Moors retaliated with Dryden parrying to safety to deny Liam Henderson, then Lewis Dodds directed a volley straight into Dryden’s midriff.

There was an explosive start to the second period with Ashington edging in front in the 48th minute.

Johnson was again the supplier, laying the ball off into the path of Norris who struck a crisp low drive from 20 yards which gave Jeffries no chance.

Ashington had barely had time to celebrate before the Moors were back on level terms.

Michael Laws met a corner by Keith Graydon at the far post and from his assist, Henderson got to the ball before Dryden to steer the ball in.

Cue home pressure and after Norris had gone close, the same player saw another effort which deflected off Glen Taylor and went behind.

But the Colliers were to rue a marvellous opportunity on 55 minutes when Lee Scott found Glen Taylor through the middle. The tall striker advanced and tried to set up a tap in finish for Johnson only that the ball went through the skipper’s legs and was cleared.

Dryden blocked from Henderson before in the 68th minute Ashington were undone by the simplest of set pieces.

Graydon swung over another corner from the left which was met by Andrew Stephenson, who had only been on the field six minutes,- with the substitute firing a low volley into the net.

Glen Taylor blazed over and Ben Christensen had a shot blocked, but those efforts apart, the visitors used all of thir experience to see out the final 20 minutes without due alarm.

On Friday, Ashington are away to Hebburn (7.30pm) then the Colliers meet Celtic Nation in the third round of the League Cup at Woodhorn Lane on Tuesday, February 4, where kick-off is 7.45pm.

Ashington: Dryden, L Scott, Blandford (C Scott 68 mins), Oliver, J Taylor, Christensen, Norris (Carson 80 mins), Downey (McGlen 68 mins), Johnson, G Taylor, Lough. Subs not used: Briggs, Barnard.

Attendance: 310.

In midweek, a hat-trick by Andrew Johnson was the highlight as the Colliers recorded their highest home win of the season against West Auckland.

The home side led 3-0 at the interval courtesy of goals from Kyle Oliver, Johnson and Glen Taylor.

In the 55th minute, Steven Richardson reduced the leeway but five minutes later Johnson latched onto a through pass from Darren Lough to slot home.

Then in the first minute of stoppage time, Johnson was caught by West keeper Jordan Nixon and calmly planted the resultant penalty wide of the visiting custodian to wrap up a 5-1 victory.