Johnson double helps sees off Shieldsmen

ANDREW Johnson scored twice as Ashington made it five wins from seven pre-season friendlies with a 3-1 win at North Shields on Wednesday night.

The Colliers had a great opportunity to edge in front as early as the fifth minute when defender John Hall handled a cross inside the area, but Phill Bell’s penalty was superbly blocked by keeper Michael Robinson.

Gareth Bainbridge wasted a great chance minutes later, lifting his opportunity over the bar.

But the visitors finally broke the deadlock on 20 minutes with a well worked goal.

Paul Antony and Ben Sayer were initially involved and when the latter played the ball forward, Bell’s first time flick to Johnson saw the midfielder curl home a delightful effort from 12 yards just inside the upright.

Two minutes later, the Robins almost levelled when a header from Femi Akinbolu hit the post before Bell, Bainbridge and Johnson were all denied before Liam Atkin drove an effort across the face of goal.

Early in the second period, Bainbridge had a piledriver well blocked by the legs of Robinson, then Sayer curled inches wide of the far post.

However, on the hour, the Colliers doubled their lead – from the spot.

Bainbridge was upended by Akinbolu and Phil Cave made no mistake with the penalty, sending Robinson the wrong way.

The home stopper performed well to deny Bell before visiting keeper Karl Dryden was called into the action, pushing away a terrific shot from a Shields’ trialist.

On 72 minutes, the home side halved the deficit with a super goal.

Danny Patterson supplied a cross with pace from the left for Akinbolu who netted with a glancing header wide of Dryden and inside the far post.

However, four minutes form time, Ashington restored their two-goal cushion.

Paul Buzzeo won possession and when he found Tommy English, the substitute’s cross was headed home at the near post by Johnson.

Ashington: Dryden (Barnard 82 mins), Grieve (Buzzeo 65 mins), Scott, Antony, Atkin, Sayer (O’Dea 65 mins), Taylor, Johnson, Bell (English 65 mins), Bainbridge, Cave.

North Shields: Robinson, Hook, Patterson, Foster (Trialist 32 mins), Akinbolu, Hall, M Watson, Richardson, Hay, P Watson, Rowntree.

On Saturday, Ashington bring the curtain down on their warm-up programme with a home clash against Gateshead Reserves at Woodhorn Lane with a 3pm kick-off.