Ashington stun Whitley Bay with five-goal haul at Hillheads
Ashington extended their unbeaten run to four matches on Tuesday night when they sent Whitley Bay crashing to a 5-1 defeat at Hillheads.
The home side also went into the contest with a good run of form behind them but they were left stunned as the Colliers deservedly came out on top in a match which swung one way then the other.
Ashington manager Steve Harmison made two changes from the side which progressed in the FA Vase against Albion Sports, with Paul Dunn starting his first game of the campaign whilst Ben Sampson was handed his full debut.
And it was the latter who schemed Ashington’s opener in the fifth minute following an intricate move which began in midfield.
Sampson played the ball through for Scott Gunn who found Ben Harmison and after he poked a low left footer under the body of advancing keeper Michael Hammond, which was trickling towards the line, Lee McAndrew blasted into the net to make sure.
It was just the start Steve Harmison’s outfit wanted, and in the eighth minute another move initially involving Shaun Henderson and Sampson ended when Luke Salmon’s cross was taken at the foot of the post by Hammond.
Kyle Downey had a 20 yarder held by the home stopper before the ex-Whitley Bay midfielder doubled his side’s advantage from the penalty spot.
Ben Harmison played the ball through to McAndrew who was baulked by Angelos Eleftheriadis in the area as he attempted to turn. Ben Sampson netted but Stanley-based referee Andrew Kitchen had already pointed to the spot and Downey send Hammond the wrong way with a firmly struck effort.
Ashington went in search of a third before the break and after Downey was not too far away with an audacious lob from 35 yards, Bay defended well to snuff out a shot from Gunn and two crosses into the box from the right by McAndrew.
However, it was a different scenario after the break as the hosts hit back and reduced the deficit two minutes after the resumption through Alex Kempster.
Ryan Bell was penalised for a foul on the right and Chris McDonald floated over an excellent free kick which was met by Kempster whose diving header left keeper Conor Grant helpless.
Ashington were forced to dig deep to defend as Bay mounted pressure with a series of attacks and after another break down the right flank, Josh Nearney’s cross was put wide at the far post by Andy Robertson.
The Colliers could not find the same rhythm as they had done in the first period and although Dunn had a diving header from a Downey free kick blocked, a turning point arrived on the hour as they scored a third against the run of play.
Downey’s quickly taken free-kick found Gunn on the right, who did well to keep the ball in play, and when he rolled it back to Sampson, his cross was turned into his own net by Bay defender Ryan Keltie.
In their past few matches, one of the features for the Seahorses was scoring late goals – only on this occasion they were on the receiving end as the Colliers went nap.
Newcomer David Dormand, who netted on his debut in the FA Vase victory on Saturday, came up trumps again on this occasion with a double.
He replaced Gunn in the 82nd minute and 110 seconds later was on the score sheet. A great run by McAndrew carved out the opportunity and when the ball was played to Dormand, his right footer took a deflection on its way into the top corner.
Then in the 90th minute, a terrific surging run down the left by Luke Salmon saw his cross sliced by a home defender into the path of Dormand who fired across Hammond and inside the far corner to put the seal on a third Colliers victory over Whitley Bay at Hillheads in consecutive seasons.
Whitley Bay: Hammond, Nearney, McDonald, Elefttheriadis, Keltie, Wilkinson (Gibson 26, Patton 70), Haley (Fryatt 60), Fowler, Shanks, Robertson, Kempster. Subs not used: Potter, Anderson.
Ashington: Grant, Henderson, Salmon, Dunn, R Bell, Buchanan, Sampson, Downey, Gunn (Dormand 82), B Harmison (Farrell 85), McAndrew. Subs not used: Bulford, J Harmison, Glasper.