Injury time winner for Ashington at Whitley Bay

Ashington FC Captain Andrew Johnson in action. Picture by Ian Appleby -
Ashington FC Captain Andrew Johnson in action. Picture by Ian Appleby -

Andrew Johnson scored a dramatic late gasp winner for Ashington to cement a 2-1 win in their Ebac Northern League first division clash at Whitley Bay on Tuesday night.

Johnson struck in the fourth minute of added time to settle what had been a pulsating encounter.

The Colliers skipper has now netted in the last three games, taking his tally for the season to 11.

On Saturday, Steve Harmison’s side produced a late flourish with three goals in the final 20 minutes accounting for West Allotment Celtic in a 3-1 success.

And at Hillheads the Wansbeck side again trailed, this time to an Adam Shanks opener until Kyle Downey levelled in the 79th minute.

Ashington started well and in the third minute ex-Whitley wide man Chris Moore ventured down the right and crossed but the Bay defence cleared.

Paul Weldon then found Johnson who cut inside but his shot lacked power and home keeper Dan Gladstone easily gathered.

Whitley’s first chance came in the tenth minute with Alex Kempster directing a header just wide from a Mark Bertram corner on the right.

Both defences looked solid and it came as no surprise when Johnson for Ashington and Michael Bell for Whitley attempted efforts from long range which were held by the respective keepers.

As the half approached the final minutes, Kyle Oliver headed wide then Kris Hughes slotted the ball through for Kempster whose effort was deflected for a corner.

Then in the final seconds, a mix-up between keeper Conor Grant and Matty Grieve almost led to the opener as Shanks nipped in but his overhead kick drifted wide.

Moore had a header clutched by Gladstone following a free kick but the blank half-time score was a fair reflection on the balance of play.

However, Ashington came flying out of the blocks at the start of the second half and bombarded the home goalmouth.

Indeed with only 15 seconds gone, a right footer from Oliver was pushed away by Gladstone, and from a Downey corner on the right, Liam Atkin had a header cleared off the line by McDonald before another effort was blocked inside the six-yard box.

As Ashington continued to exert heavy pressure, Whitley had to defend deep and after Gladstone had saved from Downey, Johnson was only inches away with a right foot curler.

Ben Harmison had a shot deflected for a corner, but Bay looked lively and dangerous on the counter, and after Shanks had fired a warning by driving wide after receiving from Liam Hudson, it was Shanks who finally broke the deadlock in the 65th minute, albeit with a goal against the run of play.

Hughes swung over a precision cross from the left where Shanks planted a bullet header wide of Grant.

The score uplifted the home outfit who then had their own spell of pressure, but after Gladstone had pushed away a drive from Scott Blandford, Ashington drew level through Downey.

Michael Laws played the ball across the park which was intercepted by Michael Dixon who found Atkin. He released Downey down the right and the midfielder slotted the ball wide of the advancing Gladstone and inside the far post.

Dixon was just wide after latching onto a ball from Christensen before in the final minute of stoppage time, substitute Lee Scott’s low cross found Johnson who curled a superb low right footer wide of Gladstone and into the corner to send the large contingent of away fans into raptures.

Whitley Bay: Gladstone, Gibson (Bramley 71), McDonald, Bell, Laws, Flynn, Hudson, Bertram, Shanks, Hughes, Kempster. Subs not used: Richardson, Williamson, Norris, Young.

Ashington: Grant, Blandford, Weldon (Christensen 12), Downey (Hotchkiss 84), Atkin, Grieve, Moore, Dixon, Oliver (Scott 64), B Harmison, Johnson. Subs not used: Race, J Harmison.

Attendance: 381.