Nine-man Ashington hold on for first win in the league
The contest lasted 102 minutes and supporters witnessed another first at Woodhorn Lane as referee Scott Henry dished out 12 yellow cards – six to each side – as well as two reds.
For the second game in a row, the Colliers finished the clash with nine men after Simon Jakab and skipper Nathan Buddle were both sent off in the 64th minute – the former for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity whilst Buddle – already on a yellow – got his marching orders for dissent.
Ashington were full value for their success. In what was a good game of football and never a feisty or dirty encounter as the card count suggests, they were 3-1 ahead before the red mist descended, then defended manfully for the remainder of the game.
A Wansbeck side that went into the game on the back of four consecutive defeats as well as failing to score in those encounters came out of the traps looking sharp and immediately put pressure onto the Dunston defence.
Buddle lashed over; Spooner had a drive held by keeper Dan Staples; Ben Sampson chipped over from 35 yards and Oli Thompson played Jordan Summerly in but he was foiled by a superb tackle by Jack Walker.
The pressure paid off in the ninth minute. Jakab found Matty Dopson, who played the ball through for Van-Zandvliet and the midfielder fired home from just inside the area.
Dunston grew into the contest and on the break, a shot from David Robinson was saved by home keeper Karl Dryden.
Thompson had a shot blocked just past the half-hour mark following a corner by Spooner then Jakab fired over after being set up by Summerly.
Dunston drew level in the 36th minute. Sado Djalo passed inside to Robinson who advanced down the right flank and when he crossed, Jordan Lamb hammered the ball home.
Within a minute, the visitors had a chance to go ahead when Djalo was through, but his effort was superbly blocked by Dryden then, when play switched to the other end, Spooner had a 20-yarder pushed away by Staples.
At the beginning of the second half, Ashington took the game to their visitors and scored two spectacular goals from Spooner and Van-Zandvliet in a little over five minutes.
The first, in the 48th minute, was created by a ball played by Darren Lough which saw Scott Heslop charge towards the area before he was upended.
Spooner took the resultant free kick and curled the ball around the wall and into the net.
Heslop headed narrowly over from a Spooner corner before Sampson teed the ball up for Van-Zandvliet, who scored a screamer from distance, arcing his effort into the top corner.
Then came the double sending off as Jakab saw red for impeding Lamb midway inside the Ashington half and within seconds he was followed to the dressing room by Buddle.
Speaking after the game, Van-Zandvliet said: “To play against Dunston, go down to nine men and win 3-1 – what a way to get your first win.”