Marske defeat leaves Ashington in relegation battle

Ashington midfielder Andy Ferrell tests the keeper during their away defeat at Marske. Picture by Ian Appleby -
Ashington midfielder Andy Ferrell tests the keeper during their away defeat at Marske. Picture by Ian Appleby -

Marske United kept their hopes of clinching the Ebac Northern League championship on track whilst Ashington’s agenda at the other end of the table is completely different.

Following the 4-0 defeat on Saturday, their eighth in nine games, the Colliers are firmly in a relegation battle.

Two clubs below them, West Allotment Celtic and Billingham Synthonia, both picked up victories and the former are now level on points with the Wansbeck side.

But amidst the gloom, if there is one crumb of comfort it comes from the fact that survival is in Ashington’s own hands.

They have home games against all the bottom three Crook Town, Celtic Nation and Sunderland RCA – they meet the latter this Saturday at Woodhorn Lane – and also have to travel to face RCA.

Last weekend’s trip to the Teesside coast was always going to be a difficult task on a heavy pitch, and it was certainly not helped as influential skipper Andrew Johnson limped out of the contest after only eight minutes with a groin strain.

If that was not enough, the title hopefuls, who as expected went for the throat from the off in front of a partisan crowd which generated a noisy atmosphere, duly opened the scoring two minutes later after having already made inroads.

Jamie Owens had a shot blocked and directed a header wide then was denied by Conor Grant before Reece Kelly clipped off target.

But when Josh Macdonald floated a free kick into the box, Darren Hollingsworth glanced wide of the despairing hand of Grant.

A Kyle Downey restart skimmed the head of Wayne Buchanan at the far post then Glen Taylor registered Ashington’s first shot at goal in the 36th minute which drifted past the post.

Debutant Jonathan Wright fired wide then another effort by Kelly was turned aside by Grant.

But the Colliers suffered a severe body blow in stoppage time as Marske added a second through live wire Owens. He was allowed time and space to cut across the area before planting a right footer into the roof of the net.

Early in the second half, home keeper Robert Dean fielded a shot from Andy Ferrell after a one-two with Kyle Oliver.

However, midway through the period, Glen Taylor drove wide from 16 yards following a move involving Lewis Davison and Ferrell.

It was an opportunity squandered and within five minutes the Seasiders wrapped up victory following a move on the break. Owens was blocked but the ball ran for Wright who made no mistake drilling a low left footer wide of Grant from 14 yards.

On 78 minutes it was 4-0 with skipper Craig Gott whipping home a free kick from just outside the area.

Then in injury time, only a goal line clearance from Lance McGlen denied the hosts a fifth from substitute Danny Brunskill.

Ashington: Grant, Christensen, Davison, Ferrell, McGlen, Buchanan, Stephenson (Brittain 58), Oliver, G Taylor, Johnson (Airey 8), Downey (Walton 70). Subs not used: Robson, Barnard.

On Saturday Ashington host Sunderland RCA in a relegation six pointer (3pm).