There were early fireworks at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday as Ashington’s Andrew Johnson returned with a bang.
The 27-year-old skipper, who had missed the last six weeks with a broken toe, made an immediate impact as he scored two and claimed two assists as the Colliers racked up their biggest victory of the season with a 6-1 result over Bishop Auckland.
And Johnson, a project officer for the Newcastle United Foundation, admitted that it was good to get into the groove again.
“I was delighted to return – and it’s been a long time coming,” he said.
“The last six weeks have been a totally frustrating time because I hate watching, and it’s been a nightmare not being able to help the lads on the park.”
Johnson declared himself fit only hours before Saturday’s game.
“I did the warm-up the previous week before the Dunston game and then trained twice during the week,” he said.
“Gary (Middleton) asked me on Saturday if I was fit to play and I said ‘yes’.”
Johnson was pleased with his overall contribution, which included an unselfish piece of play in the final minute.
He said: “I thought we started the game well then conceded a poor goal.
“It was just good to be able to help the team, though, because I can’t do that on the bench.
“However the aggression and work rate which the lads showed was in complete contrast to the Dunston encounter and we need to keep that up.
“In the 90th minute, when I was through, I’ve got to admit that it was tempting to have a go because I think I could have completed my hat-trick.
“But Kyle (Downey) hadn’t scored this season and I thought I would give him the opportunity to do that because the team is more important.”