Stalemate in Ashington derby with Morpeth

A Morpeth tackles Ashington midfielder Kyle Oliver. Picture by Ian Appleby
A Morpeth tackles Ashington midfielder Kyle Oliver. Picture by Ian Appleby

It was indicative of the way Ashington’s derby with Morpeth Town panned out as it was virtually barren of chances in the second half and the major talking point centred around an incident on the hour.

That came about when Ashington’s Glen Taylor – 35 yards out and in the inside right position – nicked the ball ahead of Michael Hall who brought him down.

Many amongst the 347 crowd thought Hall was last man and would receive his marching orders.

However, the Morpeth defender, who after the foul beat the ground in frustration, was relieved as referee Paul Keogh chose to show him only a yellow card.

Hall was one of five players to be cautioned in the period by the Blyth-based official – a startling statistic which was greater in number than goalscoring opportunities.

Indeed the first semblance of an opening came midway through the half when a 25-yard effort from former Colliers defender Paul Dunn went over, then three minutes from the end of normal time, the ball found Michael Chilton inside the area but he failed to connect.

That was that as the curtain came down to end a tame and tedious second 45 minutes.

Yet in complete contrast, the first period had produced an entertaining affair with both sides showing promising moves.

The weather was pleasant but the teams had to battle it out on a bumpy pitch which made flowing football difficult.

Ashington began the better outfit and James Taylor had a right foot volley blocked following a corner by Andrew Johnson then Glen Taylor directed a header straight at Town stopper Steven Mundy.

The keeper – another ex-Ashington servant – pushed the ball away to deny Johnson from a free kick before the Highwaymen came into the game and after a lay-off by Chilton, Sean Taylor’s effort was finger tipped away by home keeper Karl Dryden.

Then an audacious 25 yarder from Chilton flashed wide before the hotshot striker had a header pushed away by Dryden.

On the half hour, Hall cleared off the line from a glancing header by Glen Taylor, and it was the Colliers who ended the half in dominant mood.

Glen Taylor headed over from a James Novak free kick then the latter supplied a pass down the left flank which released Johnson, but after advancing, Ashington’s skipper was thwarted by a fine block by Mundy.

Five minutes later – and with half-time approaching – it was Mundy who kept the score line blank as he brilliantly tipped over another free kick from distance by Johnson.

David Carson and Lance McGlen schemed the home side’s next move which ended with Kyle Oliver heading wide.

Then came the second period which petered out and culminated in a predictable goal less draw.

Ashington now face a double header at Woodhorn Lane.

On Saturday Gary Middleton’s side take on Consett (3pm) then entertain Marske United on Tuesday, March 11

Ashington: Dryden, McGlen, Blandford, Oliver, J Taylor, Christensen, Carson, Downey, Johnson, G Taylor, Novak. Sub not used: Norris, L Scott, Brittain, Barnard.

Morpeth Town: Mundy, Henderson, Lancaster, Hall, Dunn (Forster 75), Jewels, Taylor (Anderson 85), Fry, Keenan, Chilton, Grant. Subs not used: Buchanan, Walmsley, Robinson.

Attendance: 347.

After playing their part in a high tempo first period, the Colliers went down to a 2-0 defeat against Ebac Northern League Leaders Celtic Nation in Carlisle last midweek.

Colin McMenamin opened the scoring early in the second half with Michael Rae doubling the lead midway through the half before Kyle Oliver struck the upright for the visitors ten minutes from time.