Ashington get off to a flying start against Consett in five-goal thriller

Ashington bridged an eight year gap on Saturday when they edged out Consett by the odd goal in five.
Connor Thomson scored the winner as Ashington beat Consett. Picture: Ian BrodieConnor Thomson scored the winner as Ashington beat Consett. Picture: Ian Brodie
Connor Thomson scored the winner as Ashington beat Consett. Picture: Ian Brodie

The venue has never been a happy hunting ground for the Colliers although in more recent times, the two outfits have contested exciting battles – like the 4-4 draw two seasons ago.

Paul Van-Zandvliet gave the Wansbeck side a dream start with a goal inside the first minute before Dan Capewell equalised on the stroke of half time.

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With 20 minutes remaining, Charlie Exley came off the bench to restore Ashington’s lead, but shortly afterwards Capewell was on hand to level for a second time – before Connor Thomson struck what proved to be the clincher.

Central defender Si Jakab was ruled out with illness and there was a surprise when Nathan Buddle – who has been sidelined for the past two-and-a-half months whilst recovering from two slipped discs – was named in the starting line-up.

The Wansbeck side took control of the first 45 minutes and bossed possession – something which they had not done before at the Belle View Stadium.

They took the lead after only 24 seconds.

A quick exchange of passes between Wilson Kneeshaw and Thomson released the former down the right. He cut inside and when his shot was parried across by keeper James Anderson, Van-Zandvliet pounced to slot home the rebound.

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On the quarter hour, Van-Zandvliet had a shot from the edge of the area turned around by Anderson before Consett had their first sniff when Wil Shaw dragged a right footer wide.

The best move of the period came in the 36th minute and ended with a gilt-edged opportunity for the visitors. Thomson pulled the ball back but Van-Zandvliet struck his effort well off target.

Ashington keeper Karl Dryden made a brilliant save tipping a Calvin Smith thunderbolt over the bar, but in the dying seconds of the half, he pushed the ball out and it fell straight at the feet of Capewell, who forced it home.

There was a quiet start to the second half until Thomson had a shot blocked.

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On the 65 minutes mark, Ashington manager Ian Skinner made a double change, introducing Cam Gascoigne and Charlie Exley.

Within seconds, Gascoigne had an effort held by Anderson then the two substitutes combined with stunning effect with 20 minutes of the 90 remaining.

Buddle headed the ball into the box, Gascoigne laid it off and Exley – playing against his former club – produced a venomous low finish.

However Ashington’s joy was short-lived as within a minute, Consett were level.

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They had posed a threat from set plays and corners, and following a flag kick on the left, Capewell added his second of the afternoon from close range.

Incredibly, Ben Ramsey was not far away with a 25-yarder before Dryden pulled off excellent saves from substitute Zak Atkinson and Jake Orrell.

Ashington got the winner in the 85th minute.

Substitute Darren Lough passed to Thomson and the striker unleashed a power drive from 18 yards which took a deflection to sail over Anderson and into the net.

There was almost a late twist in the second minute of stoppage time when Capewell missed out on a chance to complete his hat-trick, heading just wide.