By Gary Bell
Ashington travelled to Jarrow Roofing on Saturday looking to extend their unbeaten league run to eight games. They made three changes from the side that won in the cup v Ryhope CW in midweek with Paul Antony, James Harmison and David Dormand replacing Kyle Downey, Ben Christenson and Andrew Bulford. The home side included new signings Lee Kerr and Paul Gardiner in their starting eleven.
Ashington started the game brightly and almost took the lead on two minutes when a free kick from the left was played into the box by Paul Antony. The ball fell to Ben Sampson who saw his first shot blocked. When it rebounded to him his first time shot clipped the base of the left hand post before rolling to safety.
A minute later Ashington were behind however when a free kick in the centre of the park saw Calvin Smith with a free run in on goal and he rifled a shot into the roof of the net from the edge of the box.
The early set back seemed to stun Ashington and the home side enjoyed a spell of pressure. Lee Kerr shot wide from long range and then Paul Gardiner saw himself through on goal only to shoot high and wide. Christopher Winn also shot over the bar from a good position when latching onto a long ball over the top.
Ashington started to work their way back into the game and Dan O’Reilly showed an impressive turn of pace to race clear of the home defence but while his shot from the left flew past the keeper it also just beat the far post.
Two minutes later however, on 32 minutes, O’Reilly was not to be denied. An inch perfect through ball from David Dormand sent the Ashington forward racing clear of the home defence once again. His touch to take the ball around the keeper looked to have taken him too wide but he cut back in to unleash an unstoppable effort into the top left corner of the goal.
Good pressure from O’Reilly saw Jennison make a hurried clearance to the feet of Antony but the Jarrow keeper managed to recover to pluck his first time effort from just below the crossbar.
With a minute remaining in the first half Ashington were denied what looked like a stonewall penalty. O’Reilly clipped the ball around the Jarrow defender who looked to use his hand to stop the ball but despite vociferous appeals from the visitors the referee was not interested in awarding a spot kick.
Ashington were slow out of the blocks in the second half as the home side piled on the pressure. Gardiner saw an effort saved well by Grant on 47 minutes but the Ashington keeper was powerless to stop Jarrow taking the lead two minutes later. Christopher Winn caught the visitor’s defence in possession and raced in on goal to coolly slot the ball under the Grant to give the home side a 2-1 lead.
Shaun Henderson was unlucky to receive a yellow card on 65 minutes when a slip on the muddy surface caused him to collide with Calvin Smith but the referee harshly decided the incident deserved a booking. Five minutes later Ashington pulled things level when a cross from the left by O’Reilly saw substitute Downey, on for the injured Shaun Bell, challenge in the air with Daniel Kirkup. The defender clearly got his head to the ball but his attempted clearance fell to Dormand on the edge of the six yard area who made no mistake. The goal looked to have been ruled out when the linesman raised his flag for offside. After a lengthy discussion between the referee and her assistant however she pointed for the goal to stand to tie the scores at 2-2.
Parity was only to last for one minute however when virtually from the kick off Kristopher Hughes broke down the left wing and his cross/shot curled past Grant and into the top right corner of the goal.
With four minutes remaining Ashington had a gilt edged chance when Ben Harmison headed a right wing cross back across the box and it fell to Dormand close in on goal. The ball got stuck between the Ashington forward’s feet however and the Jarrow keeper was able to dive on the ball to smother his effort.
The final whistle sounded with Ashington’s impressive recent run coming to an end in disappointing circumstances.
Ashington team: Grant, Henderson (Bulford 85), Salmon (Scott 83), Antony, Harmison (J), Buchanan, Sampson, Bell (S) (Downey 67), Dormand, Harmison (B), O’Reilly