Error costs Colliers

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IT was like going from one end of the spectrum to the other at Heritage Park on Saturday for Ashington CFC against Bishop Auckland.

Having allowed an early lead to slip from their grasp, the Colliers turned in an abysmal second half showing which came a little over 36 hours after they had arguably put together their best performance of the season despite a 3-1 defeat at Dunston.

But on what can only be described as being a woeful playing surface in contrast to the fabulous new facilities at Bishops on Saturday, the all defining moment of the game came on the half hour after a defensive mix-up between goalkeeper Karl Dryden and central defender Gareth Rees.

The two were joined in the visitors penalty area by a lurking Daniel Hawkins and when Rees failed to clear and Dryden similarly deliberated in claiming a low cross, the ball ran to Hawkins who tapped it into an empty net.

Until then, the Colliers had been the dominant side, and after going close, they took the lead in the fifth minute through Damen Mullen.

Johnny Wightman provided the cross which saw Mullen find the net from six yards with a stooping header.

Minutes later, Chris Scott broke the play up and after finding Young, he slipped the ball wide for Wightman but the striker scuffed his shot.

Dryden was called into action in the tenth minute, palming the ball away from an effort by Bishops debutant striker Vigan Qehaja.

The home side enjoyed a spell of dominance then Ashington came back and a cross from Mullen saw a glancing header by Andrew Johnson collected by keeper Peter Jeffries.

That incident came in the 18th minute – and two minutes later Bishops and Hawkins profited from the defensive error which allowed them to get back on level terms.

Even so, the Colliers had chances to regain the lead with Johnson going close with a diving header.

A route one clearance by Jeffries found Darren Richardson whose shot beat Dryden but smacked against the base of the post.

With half-time approaching, a cross by Scott was helped on by Rees and Jeffries did well to save a Mullen volley.

Three minutes into the second half, a measured pass from Scott Blandford found Mullen but he lofted the ball over.

Then came what proved to be the winner in the 55th minute when Qehaja curled a delightful shot from just inside the area wide of Dryden and into the corner of the net.

Almost immediately, Johnson went close after a one-two with Wightman, then on the hour, Qehaja and Hawkins linked with Liam Atkin blocking the latter’s shot.

Ashington were struggling to put anything together yet in the 75th minute substitute Steve Shaw was involved as he set up a chance for Wightman whose goalbound half volley was blocked.

Then a cross-shot by Salvin hit the upright in the closing minutes.

Ashington’s last chance saw Mullen want too much time and the chance went begging.

Ashington: Dryden, Taylor, Lough, Blandford (Shaw 55 mins), Atkin, Rees, Johnson, Scott, Young (Godsmark 65 mins), Wightman, Mullen. Sub not used: Harmison.

On Saturday Ashington are at home to Shildon then the Colliers travel to Cumbria to meet Penrith on Tuesday, March 29.