Ben Harmison double makes it five wins from six for Ashington

Ashington striker Ben Harmison. Picture by Gavin Perry.
Ashington striker Ben Harmison. Picture by Gavin Perry.

Ben Harmison scored two magnificent goals as Ashington made it five wins from their last six matches with a 3-1 victory over Norton & Stockton Ancients on Wednesday night.

But the bottom of the league opposition, already relegated, certainly belied their position with an excellent display and were unlucky not to take a share of the spoils.

Colliers boss Steve Harmison named an unchanged side from the team which defeated Sunderland RCA the previous Thursday.

The visitors were within inches of taking a fifth minute lead. Matty Grieve met a corner from the left by Andrew Johnson to direct a powerful header which smacked against the bar with home stopper Carl Robinson flicking the rebound against the woodwork and Damien Stevens having a follow-up shot blocked on the line.

It was all Ashington dominance in the opening quarter hour only for the first time Norton ventured into the Ashington penalty area they went in front.

An error by Grieve led to James Harmison upending Thibault Charmey with referee Rebecca Welch pointing to the spot.

Charmey stepped up to send Colliers keeper Conor Grant the wrong way with a firmly struck effort inside the post.

The goal gave Norton an immediate boost and two minutes later they could easily have doubled their lead when Dale Elgie found Ryu Williamson but Grant came out to make a brave challenge to thwart the striker.

The pendulum had swung dramatically in Norton’s favour and only a terrific block tackle by James Taylor inside the danger zone stopped Charmey again.

Norton’s opener had come against the run of play – and in similar fashion so too did Ashington’s equaliser on the half hour, but it was well worth the wait as Ben Harmison latched onto a through pass and from 18 yards and executed a sublime lob with his left foot over Robinson with the ball finding the net via the underside of the crossbar.

The goal scorer then released the ball for Johnson who from the half way line sprinted down the left flank but his cross was intercepted for a corner.

The resultant flag kick by Johnson saw Grieve’s stooping header deflected wide, and from a second corner, taken by Kyle Downey, an effort from Dixon was off target.

Early in the second period Stevens, who has been in a rich vein of form, scoring nine goals in his last six matches, had two chances but saw Robinson make a great save from the first before shooting wide with the second.

Grieve lashed a chance over then at the other end and Williamson stroked wide of Grant’s right hand post.

However in the 72nd minute, Ashington went in front. Johnson found Downey down the left and the midfielder advanced before clipping over a cross on a plate for Ben Harmison who steered a thumping header from seven yards into the corner of the net.

Johnson had a drive pushed away by Robinson and from the restart, James Harmison struck the post with the ricochet falling to Grieve who directed over.

A massive turning point arrived in the 84th minute when Williamson was clean through and looked a certain scorer until Grant superbly tipped his effort around the post.

In the second minute of time added on, Ashington added a third.

A pass by Ben Harmison released substitute Andrew Bulford who fired across goal where the incoming Johnson side-footed home from close range.

On Saturday, Ashington are at home to Dunston UTS, kick-off 3pm.

Ashington: Grant, Taylor, Dunn (Oliver 58), Dixon, J Harmison, Grieve, Harvey (Gunn 70), Downey, Stevens (Bulford 70), B Harmison, Johnson. Subs not used: Christensen, Scott.