Richardson hat-trick sees Spartans beat Ashington

A Blyth Spartans defender clears the ball off the line to stop Ashington going 2-0 up in their pre-season friendly. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com
A Blyth Spartans defender clears the ball off the line to stop Ashington going 2-0 up in their pre-season friendly. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com

Michael Richardson scored a second half hat-trick for Blyth Spartans who twice came from behind before going nap to win their pre-season friendly against Ashington.

There were plenty of good performances from players on either side in Friday night’s clash at Woodhorn Lane.

Blyth Spartans' Robbie Dale makes it 1-1 in the friendly with Ashington. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com

Blyth Spartans' Robbie Dale makes it 1-1 in the friendly with Ashington. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com

Ashington included former Newcastle United striker Jonathyn Quinn in their line-up and could have made a dream start.

Within the opening minute a ball down the right found Quinn but his cross was intercepted at the near post by keeper Adam McHugh.

Blyth retaliated and following a build up on the right, Bruno Pilates struck a left footer which screamed narrowly over.

Back came the Colliers with a flowing move involving Andrew Johnson, Tony Stephenson and Quinn and when the latter rolled the ball into the path of Dylan Williamson, the winger fired wide.

The Blyth Spartans keeper makes a reflex save to deny Ashington a second half goal. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com

The Blyth Spartans keeper makes a reflex save to deny Ashington a second half goal. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com

Robbie Dale was then heavily involved in the action with James Harmison forced to head behind, but two minutes later, the Blyth skipper left two defenders for ‘dead’ until his cross was cut out by Liam Atkin.

On the quarter hour the home side took the lead with a sweet finish from Stephenson, who drove home with his left foot across McHugh after receiving from Johnson.

Ex-Collier Damen Mullen had a shot charged down by home keeper Conor Grant, and when play switched, Pilates cleared a Kyle Oliver corner off the line.

However in the 27th minute, a flash of brilliance from Dale resulted in Blyth drawing level.

The forward skipped one challenge but was allowed to waltz through into the box and rifle a right footer high into the net from 12 yards.

Ashington’s response was instant with McHugh pushing away from both Johnson and Williamson, then the see-saw contest switched again with Pilates volleying over from a Neal Hooks cross.

Still the action continued unabated. After Mullen had been blocked out, a pile driver from Sean Reid hit the angle of post and crossbar, then Grant pushed away a 22-yard free kick from Robinson before an effort from Hooks was spectacularly cleared off the line by Johnson.

Four minutes later, and with the last kick of the half, Johnson restored Ashington’s lead with a terrific strike.

Quinn provided the assist, finding Johnson who cut inside before curling a right footer from 20 yards inside the far corner.

Blyth introduced Richardson for the second period and within five minutes he levelled.

Stretching to clear the ball outside the penalty area, Grant’s clearance fell to Richardson who produced an ice cool lob from 25 yards into the vacant net.

The stopper denied Stephen Turnbull but could do little to prevent Blyth from taking the lead on 65 minutes as Reid pounced on a loose ball to drive home.

With Dale pulling the strings, Richardson swept in at the far post following a cross from Alex Nicholson to put the visitors 4-2 ahead.

But two minutes later, Spartans’ trialist keeper performed wonders to somehow keep out a goal bound header from Adam Shanks following a cross from the left by Oliver.

In the 83rd minute, Richardson completed his hat-trick following an error in the home ranks which led to a cross from Reid then an effort from the latter cannoned back into play after rattling the bar.

Ashington: Grant, Atkin, Oliver, Downey, Harmison, Grieve, Williamson, Blandford, Stephenson, Quinn, Johnson. Subs: Williams, Shanks, Bell, Armstrong, Smith, Dunn, Loughborough, Robson.

Blyth Spartans: McHugh, Trialist, Watson, Bramley, Hutchinson, Hooks, Pilates, Mullen, Reid, Robinson, Dale. Subs: Turnbull, Wade, Trialist, Nicholson, Richardson.

Attendance: 319.

Earlier in the week, Ashington had to fight back from a three goals down to draw 4-4 away to Alnwick Town.

Ex-Collier Brad McClelland rifled a hat-trick with Tony Brown also on target for the north Northumberland side whilst Ashington’s goals came from Jonathyn Quinn, Dylan Williamson, Matty Grieve and Andrew Johnson.