Ashington throw away two-goal lead against Jarrow Roofing

Striker Marc Walton got on the scoresheet against Jarrow Roofing when he doubled Ashington's lead in the second half. Picture by Ian Appleby -
Striker Marc Walton got on the scoresheet against Jarrow Roofing when he doubled Ashington's lead in the second half. Picture by Ian Appleby -
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Ashington’s barren run without an opening day victory under manager Gary Middleton’s rein continued when they surrendered a two-goal lead.

And in the end they were fortunate to take a share of the spoils against Jarrow Roofing at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday.

With a quarter of an hour remaining, the game appeared to be in the bag with the Colliers comfortably in the driving seat.

But the lid came off as Roofers new striker John Campbell capitalised on a defensive error to half the deficit, then the master craftsman produced a sumptuous finish within two minutes to level.

After that, the game, which had been a pretty ordinary and low key affair, could have gone either way as the woodwork was rattled on four occasions inside the closing minutes.

Richard Flynn and Stuart Elliott both failed late tests for an Ashington side already without the unavailable Glen Taylor and Kyle Oliver.

But home boss Middleton – beginning his sixth campaign – nevertheless handed debuts to goalkeeper Chris Bannon, Craig Robson, Dean Critchlow and Richie Slaughter, with Lewis Teasdale included amongst the substitutes.

The opening was tentative, yet in the ninth minute, skipper Andrew Johnson was put through by Marc Walton but saw his right footer from 16 yards saved by the legs of keeper Andrew Hunter.

Thereafter it was the same combination of Walton and Johnson which threatened to unlock the door, Hunter again denying the latter before an audacious effort from fully 40 yards by Walton flashed just wide of the upright.

However, three minutes before the break, James Novak got the breakthrough.

Set up by Johnson, the full back curled a low effort with his right foot wide of Hunter and inside the far corner.

Within a minute of the restart to the second period, Johnson met a corner from the left to stab the ball goalwards only to be thwarted by Hunter, then on 55 minutes, Campbell broke down the right and when he crossed, Liam McBryde’s effort was blocked by Bannon.

A long range shot by Slaughter was not far away and Kyle Downey was foiled by Hunter before Walton doubled Ashington’s lead on the hour following a corner on the right.

Jarrow attempted to clear but after the ball had ballooned up into the air, it landed at the feet of Walton who smashed it through a ruck of legs and into the bottom of the net.

However, in the 75th minute the ball bounced over Lance McGlen and Campbell made no mistake in driving wide of Bannon.

Incredibly Jarrow, who had pushed towering captain Daniel Kirkup up front, got back on terms within minutes when Kirkup glanced on a throw from the right for Campbell who produced a sensational strike on the half volley past Bannon.

In the 86th minute, a free kick by Novak smacked against the angle of post and crossbar – but the action was far from finished as from a cross by Campbell, a header from Kirkup struck the post and was cleared off the line by McGlen.

Remarkably, in stoppage time Kirkup set substitute Jonathan Wright who curled his effort which hit the bar, bounced on the line and back against the frame again before being frantically cleared.

Ashington: Bannon, McGlen, Novak, Robson, J Taylor, Christensen, Critchlow, Slaughter, Walton (Teasdale 89), Downey, Johnson. Subs not used: Scott, Blandford, Barret, Barnard.

Attendance: 215.

On Saturday, Ashington are away to Holker Old Boys in the FA Cup and unless a replay is required – will be at home to Guisborough on Tuesday, August 19.