Stevens double earns Ashington first points of the season
Two goals of the highest quality from substitute Damien Stevens saw Ashington register their first points of the league campaign with a 2-1 win over West Auckland at Woodhorn Lane on Tuesday night.
After three consecutive defeats, the Colliers were up against it after trailing to a goal on the hour from Adam Burnicle.
But the introduction of Stevens proved to be a masterstroke.
Ten minutes after replacing Andrew Bulford, he skilfully lifted the ball over a defender’s head then advanced before driving a right footer from 16 yards inside keeper David Knight’s near post.
If that was a goal of the month contender, then Stevens arguably bettered it four minutes from time with another wonder strike.
Again on the right hand side he brought the ball down on his chest, skipped past a defender and fired an angled drive across Knight and inside the far upright.
Supporters in the new AkzoNobel stand immediately rose to their feet to show their appreciation whilst on the field Stevens was mobbed by his teammates.
It was the final twist to a well contested game, but one in which the Colliers were worthy winners after a strong second-half showing.
In an even first period chances were limited. Early doors, home keeper Conor Grant saved well at the feet of Steven Richardson and blocked the follow up effort, then Bulford chased a long ball forward and saw his shot charged down.
Visiting skipper Thomas Marron headed wide from a corner before Ben Harmison, latching onto a through ball from Lee McAndrew, poked wide from 20 yards.
The final two opportunities fell to James Harmison. The centre back met a free kick from Kyle Downey but directed his header straight at Knight from six yards.
Minutes later Downey was again the supplier with a corner from the right which saw Harmison’s header blocked by a West defender.
Six minutes after the break, the Durham side edged ahead following good work down the right flank by substitute Stuart Rose. He got to the byline and when he pulled the ball back, Burnicle lashed home into the roof of the net.
Grant held another header from Marron following an Adam Rundle corner, then Rose set up Burnicle but Shaun Henderson made an excellent tackle inside the area.
Sandwiched in-between Stevens’ dynamic double, Downey was in the thick of the action. He had a shot repelled by Knight; struck an effort the wrong side of the post then missed the target with a diving header.
Ashington: Grant, Henderson, Salmon, Blandford, J Harmison, Buchanan, Scott (Gunn 68), Downey, Bulford (Stevens 58), B Harmison, McAndrew. Subs not used: Farrell, Sampson, Glasper.
On Saturday, Ashington are away to Sunderland RCA (3pm).