Comfortable victory sees Ashington AFC move to joint top of table

Ashington produced one of their best performances of the season to comfortably brush Redcar Athletic aside at Green Lane on Saturday.
Ashington's Darren Lough was on the scoresheet against Redcar. Picture: Ian BrodieAshington's Darren Lough was on the scoresheet against Redcar. Picture: Ian Brodie
Ashington's Darren Lough was on the scoresheet against Redcar. Picture: Ian Brodie

Goals from Dan Maguire, Darren Lough and substitute Lee Mason accounted for the Steelmen, who went into the clash with four consecutive wins behind them.

Newton Aycliffe – who topped the division beforehand – saw their match at home to West Allotment Celtic called off and consequently Ashington’s victory saw the Colliers go joint top of the division, separated by goal difference.

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However, whilst the Wansbeck outfit have no midweek fixture, third placed Bishop Auckland, who are one point behind, are at home to Whickham on Tuesday and Aycliffe travel to Crook Town the following night, so the situation could change again.

Nevertheless, Ashington’s home clash against Newton Aycliffe on Saturday (March 25) promises to be a real humdinger.

Ian Skinner’s side started well and opened the scoring after nine minutes. Home keeper Jack Norton made a hash of a clearance which fell to Briggs. He passed to Maguire and the striker curled in a sweet right footer.

Ashington continued to have the upper hand and it was past the half hour mark before Redcar had their first shot at goal.

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Ashington began the second half in identical fashion to the first. Within the opening minute, Harmison hooked on a throw-in by Andrew Cartwright which released Briggs, but his effort was held by Norton.

Seven minutes in, Redcar were reduced to ten men when midfielder Reece Kenney – who had been booked in the first period – stopped a promising attack as he fouled Briggs and was shown a second yellow.

Ashington tried to press home their advantage, Harmison missed connecting to a cross by Maguire by millimetres and Briggs had an effort deflected, whilst Lough, Maguire and Cartwright all narrowly missed.

Midway through, Ashington almost pressed the self-destruct button as they tried to play out from the back.

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They lost possession and keeper Karl Dryden – after initially parrying a shot from Hutchinson – moved swiftly to brilliantly block the follow-up effort.

Norton denied Maguire and Briggs, but there was nothing he could do in the 74th minute as Lough gave the Colliers a two goal cushion, heading home after a corner.

Ten minutes later, Mason finished off an excellent team goal.