FOR years Ashington supporters sang the chant ‘feed the Hogg and he will score’.
This was in reference to the Colliers talismanic goal machine Alan Hogg, who netted a shoal load of strikes during his career in the main at Portland Park before the advent of Woodhorn Lane.
More recently, Whitley Bay fans have taken to their own prolific scorer, Paul Chow.
Same tune, one word difference in the chant but nevertheless the same outcome: ‘feed the Chow and he will score’.
And that is exactly what the Bay striker did – at the double – on Saturday to put this well contested pre-Christmas local derby beyond the home side’s reach.
Not only that, but the ex-Jarrow Roofing player also crossed a personal milestone as his opener on 26 minutes took his overall tally for the Seahorses to an outstanding achievement of 150 goals.
A heavy pitch was the last thing Gary Middleton’s side required after stamina sapping encounters in their previous two matches against Spennymoor and Shildon – which nevertheless resulted in eye catching victories.
With both Ashington and the Bay reaching the last 32 of the FA Carlsberg Vase last week – by virtue of the Colliers 2-0 victory over Spennymoor and Whitley’s 5-1 drubbing over Bridlington –- the game was set for one of the best clashes in many a season.
It was the visitors who overall began the brighter, this after the home side’s Jonny Godsmark had ventured down the right in the opening minute and pulled the ball back which was cleared by Brian Smith.
Bay broke immediately through Robbie Dale on the left and when he crossed, keeper Karl Dryden just got to the ball to intercept from Paul Robinson.
In the fifth minute it was Robinson again who after linking well with Chris Fawcett, saw his shot tipped around by the home stopper who then pushed out an effort from Chow.
It took Ashington a while to put something constructive together – this after Godsmark had limped off injured and been replaced by Mark O’Dea – but when they did, Andrew Johnson saw his 20-yard effort palmed away to safety by Kyle Hayes going to his right.
Dale lashed over on the half volley from 12 yards although he was flagged for offside and the former Blyth man was causing problems down the left with Paul Buzzeo having his work cut out.
However, in the 26th minute, Whitley took the lead through predator Chow.
O’Dea could not get enough purchase on the ball which gave possession to Fawcett down the right, and after advancing he drove it low into the area for Chow to apply the finishing touch from six yards.
The visitors had camped in Ashington’s half for periods but the Colliers came back before the interval to have a spell of their own.
Dean Deagle found Gareth Bainbridge, who wriggled between two defenders only to overrun the ball and concede possession with Hayes collecting.
Then a near post cross by Phill Bell was intercepted.
Ashington suffered a double body blow at the start of the second half as Bay took a stranglehold on proceedings with two goals in as many minutes.
In the 50th, an inswinging corner on the right by David Pounder was met at the near post by Smith who glanced the ball across goal and into the far corner of the net.
Then it was the swiftness of the visitors on the counter-attack which resulted in the Colliers going three-nil behind.
Whitley broke after stifling an Ashington free kick with Hayes finding Dale, who surged down the left until he ventured into the penalty area and squared the ball for Chow, who again had a simple tap in from close range.
“Game over” shouted one home fan close by, only Middleton’s troops, thankfully, did not think the same way.
Instead, the Wansbeck side dominated a vast chunk of the final 40 minutes and after an effort from Bainbridge had been held by Hayes and a Johnson free kick had been palmed away by the keeper to his right, Ashington reduced the leeway on 66 minutes.
Damen Mullen slotted the ball through for Bainbridge who gave Hayes no chance with a rasping left foot drive from 12 yards.
Johnson was not far away with another pot at goal, and the Bay survived concerted appeals for a penalty with referee Mark Edwards turning down shouts for a handball before the final whistle.
However the Gateshead official had a busy afternoon, with seven players, three for the home side and four for the visitors receiving yellow cards.
Ashington: Dryden, Buzzeo (Grieve 65 mins), Deagle, Taylor, Atkin, Rees, Johnson, Mullen (Hogg 80 mins), Bell, Godsmark (O’Dea 16 mins), Bainbridge. Sub not used: Morris.
Whitley Bay: Hayes, Anderson (McMullen 92 mins), Pounder, Smith, Coulson, Kerr (Reid 67 mins), Fawcett, Robson, Dale (Downey 88 mins), Chow, Robinson. Subs not used: Kindley, Rowe.
In midweek, Ashington beat Shildon 3-2 at the Dean Street ground.
Damen Mullen fired the Colliers in front before Wayne Gredziak levelled shortly after half-time.
Ashington went 3-1 ahead with goals from Gareth Bainbridge and Paul Buzzeo – the latter notching his first for the club – then a Craig Price effort made for a grandstand finish.
On Saturday Gary Middleton’s side travel to Teesside to meet Guisborough before the Colliers host Consett at Woodhorn Lane on Tuesday, December 20, the latter with a 7.30pm kick-off.