Newcastle United XI 8
Striker Sean Longstaff fired in four goals as Newcastle United’s reserves went on a scoring spree against Ashington at Woodhorn Lane last night.
Adam Laidler notched up a brace, with other goals coming from Lewis McNall and substitute Owen Gallagher as the Magpies were ruthless and clinical in their finishing.
Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery performed the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Colliers’ new AkzoNobel stand before Ashington-born Premiership referee Michael Oliver blew the whistle to start proceedings.
Ashington’s pitch was in immaculate condition following unstinting work by Graham Chambers, of Longhirst Golf Club, near Morpeth.
Despite atrocious weather conditions, a near gale-force westerly wind accompanied by driving rain, the public came out in their droves.
The attendance of 1,229 was an outstanding turnout in the circumstances.
The Magpies outfit had been dumped out of the Techflow Group Northumberland Senior Cup against Blyth Spartans on Saturday, but they got quickly into their stride and were a goal to the good after exactly two minutes, thanks to Longstaff.
The forward unleashed a left-footer from the edge of the area which left keeper Conor Grant helpless as it screamed into the corner of the net.
Jamie Holmes fired across the face of goal, then Longstaff found McNall, whose effort was parried by Grant.
Ashington, kicking into the teeth of the atrocious conditions, carved out their first threat in the 12th minute.
A free kick by Ollie Hotchkiss fell to Liam Atkin at the back post, but he blazed over.
Liam Gibson drove off target, then, midway through the half, Hotchkiss released Andrew Johnson, but his shot was charged down by Callum Williams.
Grant foiled Longstaff, then only a great save from the home stopper denied a certain goal from McNall.
On the half-hour, Ashington were dealt a cruel blow on the counter-attack.
Gareth Williams slipped the ball through to Johnson, but Jamie Sterry got across to concede a corner.
From the flag kick, Newcastle skipper Lubomir Satka cleared off the line from a Ben Harmison header, and within 30 seconds, the visitors had doubled their lead.
Adam Laider let fly with a left-foot shot which struck the inside of the post before nestling inside the net.
Ashington had introduced keeper Ben Dudzinski during the first period, and 40 seconds after the interval, the substitute stopper denied Laidler.
But in the 51st minute, the slick Newcastle side made it three.
Dudzinski thwarted Holmes, but Longstaff fired into the roof of the net.
The tally became four in the 58th minute, after a great finish by McNall, then two minutes later, Longstaff completed his hat-trick with a drive into the far corner.
With 20 minutes remaining, Johnson netted a consolation for his side – albeit with a superb curling right-footer from the edge of the area, but that goal only served to stoke a lethal response from the Magpies, with three strikes inside four minutes from Gallagher, Laidler and Longstaff.
Ashington: Grant (Dudzinski 34 minutes), Williams (Gilbey 46 minutes), Oliver, Hotchkiss (Robson 65 minutes), Atkin, Grieve (Field 59 minutes), Quinn (Scott 46 minutes), Dixon (Dunn 59 minutes), Downey, B Harmison (Webb 65 minutes), Johnson.
Newcastle United XI: Pearson, Sterry, Gibson, Barlaser, Williams, Satka, Holmes, L Smith, McNall, Longstaff, Laidler. Subs: Pollock, B Smith, Suddick, Gallagher.
Referee: Michael Oliver (Bedlington). Assistants: Adam Nichol (Ashington) and Evan Culling (Bedlington).