Walton rescues point for Ashington against Penrith

Ashington CFC striker Marc Walton.
Ashington CFC striker Marc Walton.

A MARC Walton double salvaged a point for Ashington in a fast flowing encounter with Penrith at Woodhorn Lane on Tuesday night.

Walton was the hero of the hour with his second strike coming deep into injury time at the end of the second period.

Following their 6-1 drubbing by Darlington 1883 at the weekend, Gary Middleton’s men set the tempo and totally dominated the opening period with Andrew Johnson outstanding in midfield.

Yet they somehow found themselves trailing at the interval through a series of missed opportunities.

After Walton had fired wide early on, Glen Taylor found Andrew Dobbie whose pile driver was beaten out by keeper Jonny Jamieson.

The stopper was again called into the action only two minutes later when Glen Taylor slotted the ball through for Johnson whose effort was pushed away.

It took the visitors a full quarter hour before they created their first chance when a header from Grant Davidson was clutched by keeper Karl Dryden – and from the clearance, Johnson was through at the other end but rifled wide.

Darren Lough – making his seasonal debut after rejoining the club from Icelandic side KA Akureyri – then found Walton who turned and fired over.

In another rare raid by the Cumbrians, a shot by Richard Faustino was cleared off the line by Mark O’Dea before Ashington ventured forward again.

After a move inspired by Paul Antony and Johnson, Glen Taylor snatched at an opening and his effort was collected by Jamieson.

With Johnson constantly causing problems for the visitors, he schemed an attack where he set up O’Dea whose 22-yard drive was fisted down by the stopper.

Time after time Ashington were being thwarted in their efforts, and the inevitable happened in the 35th minute when after a break down the left flank, the ball was played to Grant Davidson who found the net from the edge of the box with a right foot shot which squirmed under the body of the diving Dryden.

Before the interval, Walton was blocked then Dobbie got to the ball first to poke it past Jamieson and Thomas Barclay, caused further problems as he sliced his shot and was mightily relieved to get a second bite at the cherry to clear.

Yet another chance went begging on 41 minutes when Glen Taylor glanced on a throw-in from Dobbie but Johnson was well off target with a first time strike.

In a second period littered with referee Daniel Woodward issuing five yellow cards – three to the visitors and two to the home side – Antony went close and Walton and Dobbie had other efforts, the latter whose shot was taken at the second attempt by Jamieson.

However on the hour, Walton levelled. Johnson had a shot blocked but the ball ran to Ashington’s top marksman who rifled home from six yards.

Midway through the period, Lough made a terrific challenge inside the area to halt Martyn Coleman, and it appeared as if it was going to be one of those nights when in the 71st minute, Walton picked up a clearance from the visiting keeper but was again snuffed out by a defender.

Penrith had been more of a force in the second period but they nevertheless still stunned the home outfit in the 76th minute by regaining the lead.

Davidson on this occasion turned provider with his low cross being side-footed home from close range by Andrew Murray-Jones.

That appeared to be the decisive strike with Ashington not having as much impact on affairs.

Yet in stoppage time, the never-say-die Colliers got back on terms with Walton scoring his 17th goal of the campaign.

Matty Grieve’s clearance from defence released Johnson through the middle and Ashington’s star performer on the night shrugged off a challenge from a defender and drew keeper Jamieson before unselfishly rolling the ball across for Walton to steer into an empty net.

The point lifted Ashington five places up the Ebac Northern League first division table from 12th to seventh.

Ashington: Dryden, Grieve, Lough, Antony, Atkin, O’Dea, J Taylor (Bainbridge 85 mins), Johnson, Walton, G Taylor, Dobbie (Bell 70 mins). Subs not used: Storey, Dugdale, Gray.

Attendance: 168.