Front three prove decisive in Ashignton win

Team Northumbria's former Ashington midfielder Paul Antony tackles Ashington defender Darren Lough. Picture by Ian Appleby
Team Northumbria's former Ashington midfielder Paul Antony tackles Ashington defender Darren Lough. Picture by Ian Appleby

Ashington’s triple strike force once again came to the fore on Saturday to account for Team Northumbria.

And the 4-1 success saw the Colliers return to winning ways following successive defeats against Consett and Whitley Bay.

Skipper Andrew Johnson grabbed a brace, with Glen Taylor and substitute Marc Walton also on target.

In the end it was a comfortable victory against a side who hoping to avoid the drop but went into the clash unbeaten in four matches after chalking up three wins and a draw.

Gary Middleton’s side enjoyed greater possession during the opening period but were unable to break down their opponents after showing a lack of quality in the final third.

Ironically, Team North – who had four players yellow carded by referee Barry Gordon in the opening period – created the first semblance of a chance in the 13th minute when their top marksman Peter Watling fired across the face of goal after a break down the left.

Ashington replied with James Taylor and Johnson working a one-two which ended with the former’s effort going wide.

Then David Carson lashed over on the half volley from six yards from a left sided corner.

Ashington were well on top but they could not find that elusive opening, despite further efforts from Kyle Oliver and Johnson before the interval.

Early in the second period a snap shot from Watling drifted wide then Martin Brittain fired just over before the Colliers finally unlocked the door via the direct route.

A kick out of his hands by home stopper Karl Dryden bounced over the Team North defence which allowed Johnson to nip in and stab home ahead of oncoming keeper Andrew Jennison.

Brittain and Oliver went close to adding a second before, in a rare raid, ex-Ashington defender Louis Storey flashed a drive not far away from fully 25 yards.

Middleton introduced Walton for the final quarter and within two minutes the forward made a huge impression with a wonder strike.

Johnson was the provider of a pass which saw Walton look up then smash a fabulous 25 yarder with his right foot which gave Jennison no chance as it flew into the top corner.

With six minutes remaining Ashington’s victory was sealed when Kyle Downey and Johnson combined and when the latter clipped over a perfect cross, Glen Taylor rose well to send a superb header into the roof of the net.

Jennison foiled Johnson but the keeper was again left helpless in the 88th minute as the home skipper duly added his second of the afternoon.

Dryden once again claimed the assist with a long clearance which found Johnson who accelerated down the left flank, beat a defender then coolly slotted inside the far post from a tight angle.

Then in the third minute of time added on, ex-Collier Paul Antony burst into the home area and drove in a consolation goal for the visitors.

Ashington: Dryden, J Taylor, Lough, Oliver, C Scott (L Scott 80 mins), Christensen, Carson (Norris 75 mins), Downey, Johnson, G Taylor, Brittain (Walton 70 mins). Subs not used: Blandford, Barnard.

Attendance: 204.

On Saturday Ashington are at home to Wisbech in the fourth round of the FA Carlsberg Vase then the Colliers host West Auckland on Tuesday, January 21.