Ashington 4-2 Shildon
Ashington made it three wins on the trot after a tremendous 4-2 victory over Shildon, writes Brian Bennett.
Until recently, it had been a difficult start to the campaign for Colliers manager Steve Bowey and his squad with results and performances not going according to plan but on Saturday, his energetic side thoroughly deserved this latest success as they toppled the Durham outfit who before kick off were sitting third from top of the Ebac Northern League’s first division.
Later on in the evening, the Woodhorn Lane club hosted a race night - which was ironic considering how Bowey’s side had performed.
The Wansbeck side were dark horses before the contest but they galloped into a three goal lead inside the opening half hour and had another effort disallowed.
The Railwaymen rallied to score twice before the break but were handicapped for the final ten minutes after Keith Graydon had been sent off. And when Jack Butler got his second goal of the game in stoppage time, it sealed three worthy points for Bowey’s side.
Ashington were quick to start and were a goal to the good after only four minutes. Zak Atkinson’s first time flick sent Butler away down the left and when he crossed, Sam Norris’s touch fell into the path of Atkinson who lashed the ball home from four yards.
Four minutes later, Butler and Norris combined for Atkinson to score only for their celebrations to be cut short as the assistant had his flag raised for offside. Such was the home side’s dominance that it was the quarter hour before Shildon threatened – and even then it was an audacious effort from the half way line by Graydon which dipped over the bar.
Midway through the period, the Colliers doubled their lead with Butler rewarded for sheer determination and persistence. Atkinson was again involved sending the ball through and when Butler harassed a defender which culminated in a short back-pass, the number eleven was onto it in a flash. He won a 50-50 challenge with advancing ‘keeper Shaun Newbrook then followed up to side foot into an empty net. In the 29th minute it was 3-0. Channon North flicked a header on to Norris down the right and when the winger crossed, North’s shot was blocked by Newbrook but only as far as North who slammed in the rebound.
Sixty seconds later, Butler burst through in the inside left channel but fired over from the edge of the area. In the 34th minute, Shildon reduced the arrears when Matthew Waters met a cross from the left and his header crept inside the near post, although home ‘keeper Luc Glasper got a hand to it. Graydon hit the side netting with a half volley before the visitors pulled the score back to 3-2 in the final minute of the half. Player/manager Danny Moore’s effort went across the face of goal with Ben Trotter applying the finishing touch.
Early doors in the second half, Glasper superbly tipped away an effort by Matthew Robson then Aidan Heywood chipped over. On the hour Glasper palmed out a header from James Harwood before a run down the flank by Norris saw him set up substitute Gerard Richardson whose lob was taken by Newbrook.
With ten minutes remaining, Graydon caught Norris with an elbow and received a straight red card from referee John Mulligan then in the first minute of additional time, Butler’s second – his fourth goal in three matches – put the issue beyond doubt. The youngster broke from inside his own half latching onto a through pass and after playing the ball over the advanced Newbrook, tapped into the unguarded net.
*On Saturday, Ashington are away to Newcastle Benfield (3pm).