Walton double sees Ashington fight back for a point

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TWO second half strikes from Marc Walton saw Ashington come back from the dead and grab a draw with Consett at Belle Vue on Saturday.

With the midweek game at Norton called off due to a league administration error, the Colliers were keen to get back to action.

But this game was also in doubt with Consett’s famous micro climate conspiring to leave a thick covering of snow on the pitch. However, the game passed an 11am inspection.

Ashington got off to the worst possible start and within five minutes they were behind.

Michael Mackay picked the ball up 20 yards out and fired a shot just inside the post beyond the outstretched arm of the diving Karl Dryden.

Consett having taken the lead went on to dominate play, and with five in midfield controlled the tempo of the game, exploiting Ashington’s right flank.

On 17 minutes Michael Mackay should have done better when picking up a loose ball from Matty Grieve but his shot lacked any power and Dryden dealt with it well.

Soon after, good marshalling from Liam Atkin saved the Colliers after some good interplay between Slocombe and Guerin-Lokonga saw Consett make their way into the Ashington box.

Ashington mustered their first real attack of the half when on 24 minutes a good cross-field ball by Paul Antony was picked up by Andrew Johnson who played in Glen Taylor, but his shot was closed down well.

Consett almost doubled their advantage on the half hour mark after good play down the left hand side saw the ball fed to Mackay, but he dragged his shot wide.

But the home side did double their lead on 36 minutes after shouts for a penalty were waved away after the ball appeared to strike the arm of an Ashington player. The Steelmen were instead awarded a corner, and the resultant ball in was missed by Dryden to force another corner. The second was headed away but failure to get out to the ball allowed Ashington lad Ryan Bell to steal in at the far post and head into the net.

On 42 minutes the Colliers almost pulled a goal back.

Good work down the left from James Taylor and Johnson saw the ball played in to Glen Taylor who had his shot well saved by Chris Elliot in the Consett goal.

Johnson almost grabbed a goal before half-time, but a heavy touch while going through on goal saw him take it too close to the goalkeeper.

After the interval, Consett again took the initiative and Guerin-Lokonga had a great opportunity but his shot was well blocked by Grieve.

Ashington were struggling to get going on the heavy pitch.

On the hour, Guerin-Lokonga was again through on goal, but Dryden saved at his feet.

Ashington started to get a bit more of the ball and on 66 minutes a smart interception by Bell stopped Walton from going clean through on goal.

Walton though was not to be denied and on 69 minutes he did pull a goal back.

A high ball saw the striker pivot past Scott Martindale, beat the offside trap and drive the ball past the goalkeeper from a narrow angle.

Three minutes later the Colliers drew level.

Johnson beat the offside trap down the left flank and sent a pinpoint cross over for Walton to head past Elliot.

On 88 minutes Ashington almost completed a smash and grab raid.

After Walton received the ball in the centre a deft touch released substitute Jonny Godsmark, but the diminutive attacker fired just over with the outside of his boot.

Ashington, Dryden, Slaughter, Taylor, Antony, Atkin (c), Grieve, Scott (Godsmark), Dugdale (O’Dea), Walton, Taylor, Johnson.

Ashington entertain Celtic Nation on Tuesday, kick-off 7.30pm, before travelling to Marske United on Thursday, and finishing a hectic week with a home game against Sunderland RCA on Saturday.