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Ashington AFC

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Whickham

Sat 8 Sep 2018 | Ebac Northern League Division One | Home

Stadium

Woodhorn Lane

Attendance

183

Referee

Graeme Hopper

Kick-Off

15:00

By Brian Bennett

Jack Butler marked his Ashington debut by scoring a stoppage time winner against Whickham on Saturday. The Blyth Spartans winger, signed on a dual registration with the Woodhorn Lane club late last week, was both prominent and impressive and was rewarded for his sterling efforts, stabbing home in the fifth minute of time added on.

The goal may have been harsh on a Whickham side who chased and harassed throughout and would have been worthy of a share of the spoils. However after his outfit had conceded an equaliser late on at Penrith, Ashington boss Steve Bowey will argue that the game is swings and roundabouts. But whilst Butler had a debut to remember, it was the complete opposite for another newcomer, Adam Rundle who after being injured just before the half way mark in the first half, was forced to leave the field on crutches.

After a quiet opening, it was the visitors who threatened. On nine minutes, Steven Aiston had a chance but home ‘keeper Conor Grant came off his line to smother. The stopper then tipped around an effort from Kelvin Thear and minutes later, following a corner on the right, a shot from the same player was cleared from the danger zone by skipper Shaun Vipond. Former Collier Andrew Bulford fired a cross shot wide before Ashington carved out their first opportunity. Channon North released Sam Norris down the right whose cross resulted in a corner. Rundle took the flag kick with an in-swinger which saw Lewis King’s header cleared off the line.

In the 28th minute, the Wansbeck side took the lead. King slotted a lovely weighted ball through for David Edwards who sprung the offside trap and slotted past advancing ‘keeper Joe Clayton.

Aiston side footed just wide then at the other end, a shot from Norris was blocked. With the game approaching half time, Whickham were awarded a free kick 30 yards out and Bulford’s right footer thudded against the crossbar and rebounded to safety.

Twelve minutes into the second half, The Lang Jacks equalised. Thear produced a darting run down the left flank and when his cross was only half cleared, Thear made no mistake whipping a right foot effort across Grant and inside the far post.

But within two minutes, Ashington were back in front following a superbly constructed move down the right. Kyle Downey found Norris and when he crossed, the ball was glanced on at the near post and ran into the path of Channon North who swept home first time from eight yards.

Within seconds, the visitors were baying for a penalty when tricky customer Thear went tumbling inside the box but their claims were ignored by referee Graeme Hopper. Butler then drew warm applause from the crowd after an exciting run where he beat four defenders on his way into the Whickham area only to flick the ball to Clayton.

With quarter of an hour remaining, Downey threaded a precision pass through for Norris who had a one-on-one opportunity but saw Clayton save with his legs. Two minutes later, Whickham levelled.

Grant parried a shot from Bulford and when the ball ran free to Dale Burrell, the midfielder coolly picked his spot to lash home.

Two minutes from time, substitute Joe Mole took the ball around Grant but fired into the side netting - then came the dramatic and late finale. Downey’s corner on the right found Butler who from six yards squeezed his shot between Clayton and the post to put Ashington into a 3-2 lead.

Still the drama continued and Bulford almost had the final say with the last kick of the game, but his free kick from 20 yards was narrowly off target.

Ashington: Grant, King, Armstrong, Rundle (Bowey 23 minutes), Bell, Vipond, Norris (Francois 80 minutes), Downey, North, Edwards, Butler

Subs not used: McAndrew, Caygill, Cunningham

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