Nelson 0-4 Ashington
It took them 20 minutes to take control of the game, but once they had it they didn’t let it go. They could well have been more than a goal to the good at half-time. That was partly due to a spirited start by the hosts – who are towards the bottom of the North West Counties League Division One North – their equivalent of our second division.
Nelson had an early shout for a penalty - waved away by the referee - but gradually Ashington started to boss the game, with their passing game improving as the minutes ticked by. It was only their final ball that was letting them down. Colliers’ early chances fell to Lee McAndrew who had a shot blocked, Glenn Caygill who got his head to a corner only to see the ball just skirt the wrong side of the left post and Jack Butler who couldn’t get much power in a shot to trouble the Nelson keeper.
Halfway through the half they started to get closer and closer to scoring: David Edwards with a shot blocked on the line and Jay Hornsby with a shot that came back off the post.
Thirty minutes into the match and Gerard Richardson latched on to a Lee McAndrew cross. His downward header hit the ground and bounced towards the line, forcing the Nelson keeper to punch it away. A minute later Ashington were ahead with an action replay move; another McAndrew cross and another Richardson header.
The Nelson keeper again got a hand to the ball but he couldn’t stop it crossing the line. The Colliers hadn’t been able to convert their superiority into goals, but that all changed in the second half.
Two minutes after the re-start Jack Butler made it 2-0 by controlling the ball and holding off a Nelson defender before knocking it into the net. It gave them the springboard to push on and put their opponents to the sword.
In the lead up to the third goal, Chris Youldon made a run across the Nelson box and the defence could only half clear his shot with Butler picking the ball up and wrong-footing the defenders with a shot to make it 3-0. Ashington extended their lead 60 minutes in when Richardson rose to meet a corner with an uncontested header, planting the ball into the back of the net. Zak Atkinson almost made it 5-0 with a low, hard shot well saved by the Nelson keeper.
With the job effectively done, Steve Bowey started bringing substitutes on. The game was wrapped up in the 80th minute when Youldon was brought down with a scything tackle in the area. Atkinson stepped forward to bury the ball into the back of the net to complete an assured display by Ashington.