ON loan striker Dan Taylor became an instant hit with the Ashington fans when his timely double effort effectively led the Colliers to a thrilling Boxing Day derby victory over local rivals Bedlington Terriers at Welfare Park.
Taylor, 18, who only signed from Newcastle United last week and who was making his full debut, netted with two crucial second half goals in a ten minutes spell which put his side into a comfortable 4-1 lead.
And whilst the home side received a blow beforehand when striker Anthony Shandran who had netted a hat-trick in the corresponding 4-1 win over the Colliers in August, was ruled out through injury – Gary Middleton’s grasped the opportunity to restore some pride with both hands.
Ashington – with a strong wind on their backs and kicking down the slope in the first half – were totally dominant and could so easily have had the game wrapped up by the interval.
They led from the tenth minute when Andrew Johnson met Phill Bell’s cross on the volley to whip a brilliant left footed effort from 16 yards which gave home ‘keeper Craig Pickering no chance before it nestled in the far corner. Ashington drove on and Craig Scott with a header; James Taylor with a super strike and a Dan Taylor effort were all denied by the woodwork before Johnson added his second on the stroke of half time.
He gained possession on the right, made inroads through the middle then clipped left footed over Pickering from 20 yards.
Within a minute of the resumption, Steven Richardson latched onto a cross by James Novak to half the deficit then twice in five minutes, John Campbell spurned good chances rolling the ball the wrong side of the post. Bedlington had started the half in the same vein as their counterparts had done in the first period but they suffered a body blow in the 64th minute when substitute Dean Deagle and Tommy English worked a one-two down the left and from Deagle’s short cross, Dan Taylor glanced a lovely header across Pickering and into the far corner. Furthermore, the newcomer met an inswinging flag kick from English on 74 minutes to plant a header into the net via the bar before Steve Bowey gave the Terriers renewed hope, the midfielder hammering the ball home following a cross by Mark Convery from the right.
Afterwards, Ashington boss Gary Middleton said: “First half, I thought we totally controlled the game and got our second goal on half time which was important. For all Bedlington had pressure in the second half, I thought we looked composed and defended well and hit them well on the counter attack – but it was just another good all round performance.”
Bedlington boss Tony Lowery said: “I was obviously disappointed. We did not turn up in the opening 45 minutes and it was a game of two halves. Ashington probably deserved the win but goals change games and John Campbell usually buries the chances which came his way early in the second half. If he had scored then it could have been different.”
Bedlington Terriers: Pickering, Harrison, Brackstone (Graham 70 minutes), Carr, Flynn, Bowey, Convery, Hubbard, Richardson, Campbell, Novak. Subs not used: Snowdon, Phillipson, Nicholson, C Morton.
Ashington: Dryden, Buzzeo, Scott, J Taylor, Atkin, Grieve (Deagle 56 minutes), Johnson, Dugdale, Bell (Mullen 87 minutes), D Taylor, English. Subs not used: Bainbridge, Morris.