Ashington 0-3 Marske United
Ashington’s hopes of putting a spoke in Marske’s challenge for the Ebac Northern League first division championship were scuppered in the first half of their clash at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday.
The Teesiders - who only a week earlier had gone out of the Buildbase FA Vase at the semi final stage against rivals Stockton Town - had the fallback of vying with Morpeth Town for the title and they duly collected all three points at Wansbeck without getting out of second gear after a nightmare opening 45 minutes from the home side.
By the break, the Colliers had been reduced in number to nine after Jay Hornsby and Tony Stephenson had both been dismissed in totally differing circumstances.
Whilst the latter’s dismissal was mandatory - for handling on the goal line - the punishment metered out to young Hornsby in the 13th minute was not only controversial but left supporters bewildered as well as infuriated. Home ‘keeper Conor Grant had foiled Curtis Round with a superb save but after a through ball played into the Ashington box, there appeared to be minimal contact by Hornsby on James Fairley but referee David Carr pointed to the spot. However the official left home supporters gobsmacked when he called Hornsby over and sent him off.
The full back was clearly shell shocked as he put his head in his hands at the sight of the red card then after he left the field, Craig Gott sent Grant the wrong way from the penalty to put the Seasiders ahead.
On 35 minutes, Michael Roberts slid the ball under Grant but stand in centre half David Edwards cleared off the line before Stephenson saw red for handling. Gott again stepped forward but Grant got down low to his left to brilliantly palm the ball around the post. Round went close from distance before the midfielder doubled his sides lead five minutes before half time.
Fairley escaped his marker down the right and as Grant advanced, Marske’s best performer on the day unselfishly pulled the ball square for Round who side footed in from 16 yards. Nineteen seconds into the second half, Fairley netted but the score was ruled out for offside then a shot from Gott was deflected over the bar.
Incredibly on 55 minutes, the nine men of Ashington had a golden opportunity to pull themselves back into the contest when Kyle Downey was grounded by Leon Carling. However Damien Stevens hit his spot kick down the middle which was shoveled to safety by the feet of ‘keeper Robert Dean as he moved to his left. Three minutes later Fairley added Marske’s third when he beat a defender and galloped through to fire wide of Grant.
*Saturday’s match only went ahead after a tremendous amount of work carried out by the ground staff during the morning following heavy and persistent rain. *Ashington go to Norton on Wednesday (April 4) to face basement club Billingham Synthonia then the Colliers have two home matches in four days. On Saturday (April 7) they take on Seaham Red Star before Shildon travel to Wansbeck on Tuesday (April 10).