Shildon 1-1 Ashington
Ashington completed a unique hat-trick of results on Wednesday night when they secured a 1-1 draw against Shildon at Dean Street.
Billy Greulich-Smith’s second half strike for the Railwaymen cancelled out an early opener by Callum Johnston but the Colliers have now met the leading trio at the top of the Ebac Northern League first division – all away from home – and taken a deserved point against all three.
The Wansbeck side started the game well. In the fifth minute, Ben Sampson burst through but his shot lacked power and was easily held by ‘keeper Nicky Liversedge. Then Ben Harmison latched onto a through pass down the left flank by Luke Salmon and drove goalwards wide of the advancing Liversedge but a defender got back to clear from the danger zone.
Shildon’s first threat came when Adam Burnicle had a shot blocked following a cross by David Renyard but play switched immediately to the other end and a great interception and forward pass by Lewis Strafford found Harmison but he was dispossessed by a home defender. However in the 14th minute, Ashington deservedly went in front – with Johnston notching his fifth goal of the campaign.
Shildon only half cleared a free kick played into the area by Paul Antony and when the ball fell invitingly for Johnston, he lashed a low drive from 18 yards into the net wide of Liversedge.
The hosts retaliated. Renyard headed wide, Burnicle was narrowly off target with a right footer then the same player was denied by Grant with the ‘keeper brilliantly repelling a shot which was goalbound. Back came Ashington and on the half hour, Luke Salmon cut in from the touchline and his shot was tipped around by Liversedge. However in the following minute, Renyard met a cross from the right and his effort smacked against the post.
Ashington had to withstand early pressure at the start of the second period and in the 58th minute, Shildon – who travel to meet Banbury United in the third qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday – introduced striker Billy Greulich-Smith. Three minutes later, the substitute equalised when he met a cross from the right and swept the ball home on the half volley past Grant. Matthew Robson went close with a fizzing effort then Sampson fired over following a throw in by Salmon.
The final quarter hour was full of thrills with both sides going all out for the win. Grant superbly pushed aside from Burnicle then Sampson played the ball through for Harmison who lashed a stinging drive from the edge of the area wide. The final opportunity came in the final minute of the 90 with Burnicle’s shot going over the bar following a free-kick on the left. *On Saturday, Ashington are away to Whitley Bay (3pm).
Ashington: Grant, Strafford, Salmon, Antony (Downey 85 minutes), R Bell, Buchanan, Sampson, Edwards (Hornsby 66 minutes), Johnston (Stephenson 29 minutes), B Harmison, McAndrew. Subs not used: Christensen, Glasper (gk).