Seaham Red Star 4-3 Ashington
Two quick fire goals just past the half way mark in the second half by Seaham’s Dan Wilson and Nathan Greenwood sent Ashington spiralling to a fifth consecutive defeat at the Ferguson Motor Repairs Stadium on Saturday, writes Brian Bennett.
The Colliers had carried out repairs of their own with brilliant strikes from Jack Butler and Chris Youldon pulling the Wansbeck side back on level terms after Red Star had shone and held a two goals cushion at the interval – courtesy of goals from Liam Gillesphey and ex Ashington midfielder Paul Gardiner - against a disjointed visitors line up.
The brace breathed new life into Ian Skinner’s youthful side but then Wilson and sub Greenwood both struck and although Youldon netted his second from the spot in stoppage time, it was too little too late. Seaham had opportunities to add to their tally during the first 45 minutes yet in some respects because of their spirited comeback, it was another hard luck story for the Woodhorn Lane side who as a result dropped to fourth from bottom of the first division table whilst their rejuvenated victors leapfrogged above them to 13th place after securing a third successive win.
The Star could have gone ahead after only 15 seconds as Paul Weldon and Michael Chilton - two former Colliers – combined with the latter firing into the side netting. Seaham pressurised as Ashington conceded numerous free kicks in the opening quarter and they got their noses in front in the 12th minute. Lee Kerr’s astute sweeping pass with the outside of his foot from the right flank to the left found Gillesphey whose clever volley went across Conor Grant and inside the far corner.
The ‘keeper denied Gardiner following a one-two but in the 23rd minute, Gardiner doubled the lead, slotting home from the edge of the area after accepting a pass from the right flank. Minutes later, Grant somehow touched over a header from Gillesphey and from the resultant corner, Seaham had the ball in the net again – until the score was disallowed by referee Graeme Hopper for an infringement on the Ashington ‘keeper. Lewis Robson made a timely intervention to stop a goalbound effort from Chilton and Gardiner had two chances before the interval, shooting over with the first and being thwarted by Grant from the second.
Jack Butler had been Ashington’s sole threat with his direct and darting forays upfront and after making one such charge from the half way line, his cross was cleared by Anthony Myers. Then on the stroke of half time Butler again weaved his way forward and wriggled clear but as Chris Bannon advanced, the ball took a wicked bounce and the striker clipped a left footer wide from 18 yards. However, five minutes after the break, Butler produced a finish of unerring accuracy which sparked a recovery. He charged onto a great through pass from the half way line, waltzed past a defender then drove across Bannon and inside the far post. Six minutes later, it was all level when substitute Chris Youldon curled a superb free-kick from 25 yards into the top corner which gave Bannon no chance. Scott Young’s low effort from distance went close then Wilson was denied by Grant.
But Ashington were rocked when Seaham netted twice in the space of three minutes. In the 72nd minute, Wilson rolled the ball home from a tight angle to put them 3-2 ahead then after another sorte when the ball rebounded off Jay Hornsby, Greenwood rammed home the fourth. However the Colliers refused to throw in the towel. Bannon palmed out from Butler with Channon North’s pull back cleared then the home stopper again held from Butler after inventive work by the busy Youldon. In the second minute of stoppage time, a cross by Youldon was handled in the box by Joseph Hailes and Youldon confidently despatched the spot kick, sending Bannon the wrong way. *On Saturday, Ashington are away to Newton Aycliffe (3pm).