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Newton Aycliffe

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Ashington AFC

Sat 2 Mar 2019 | Ebac Northern League Division One | Away

Stadium

Newton Aycliffe Stadium

Attendance

70

Referee

James Westgate

Kick-Off

15:00

By Brian Bennett

Ashington FC’s interim manager Ian Skinner – after seeing his side arrest a run of five consecutive defeats with a 1-1 draw at Newton Aycliffe last weekend – has issued a new challenge to his players ahead of Saturday’s home clash against Ryhope CW.

Club captain Wayne Buchanan gave the Colliers the perfect start at Moore Lane with a goal in the fifth minute which the Wansbeck outfit held onto until ten minutes from time when substitute Ben Wood equalised for the Newtonians. Skinner had mixed emotions of delighted coupled with disappointment – but this week will stress to his squad the importance of enjoying better fortunes at the club’s Woodhorn Lane base where they start a run of four consecutive Saturday games: “We have done okay today and taken a point,” said Skinner afterwards, “I’ll have a bigger pool to select from against Ryhope CW so the players need to perform in training and then we’ll sit down as a management group and evaluate what we think is in the best interests re team selection. I’m hoping the lads will turn in a decent performance at the Lane because our home form - having lost eight of 13 league clashes – remains a concern.”

He continued: “I’d like to hope that the players have drawn a bit of confidence from the performance and result at Aycliffe as it put a stop on that run of defeats and was the most important issue today. If we can pick up a point away from home and win our home games, we will do alright - now our focus is on Saturday.”

The clash against Aycliffe – albeit played in difficult windy conditions - was certainly not one for the purists and chances throughout the 90 minutes were in short supply. The Colliers had signed Sammy Perez, brother of Newcastle United star Ayoze, and the striker – who made an immediate debut – was involved in the opening exchanges which saw the Colliers go ahead. Perez found Channon North inside the area and when the forward was blocked out for a corner on the right, Karl Ross’s delivery saw Buchanan leap at the far post and direct a looping header which went over ‘keeper Adam Pickford and between the frame of post and crossbar. It was just the start Skinner and his side had been looking for and seconds later, another chance fell to North who nodded wide.

It was on the half hour before visiting ‘keeper Conor Grant was called into action, making a double save from Shaun Hudson and the follow up by Kurt Matthews and it prompted an immediate response from the Colliers as Harry Stansfield, Ross and Perez combined to set up North whose effort was blocked. As the half drew to a close, Aycliffe mounted pressure and after Mark Costello had been denied, Ethan Wood rode two tackles before firing narrowly over. Chances were even more remote after the break. Midway through Matthews got himself into a good position but blazed wide then a shot by Kevin Carr bobbled in front of Grant who pushed the ball away. On the 75 minutes mark, the home side introduced Ben Wood for Carr and five minutes later - after Ross had cleared off the line - it was the substitute who came up with the leveller. Ashington failed to clear a free-kick knocked into the area and when the ball fell to Wood, he made no mistake hooking the ball wide of Grant.

Meanwhile Ashington – at home for the next four Saturday’s - have announced a ‘March special’ to their supporters with a four match ticket for the price of three. Chairman Brian Shotton said: “We face a busy period at Woodhorn Lane and as a club, would like to offer our supporters the opportunity of purchasing their tickets in advance and receiving one game free of charge. Playing so many matches at home in a short space of time can understandably be demanding on personal finances and we would like to reward our loyal supporters for their excellent backing in what has been a challenging season for the whole club.”

The ticket can be purchased online or alternatively on entry to the game against Ryhope CW on Saturday (March 9, 3pm kick-off).

Ashington: Grant, Sampson, Robson, Uddgren, Lycett, Buchanan, Stansfield, Ross, North, Youldon (Newton 71 minutes), Perez (Lingthep 71 minutes)

Subs not used: Bell, Rowlandson, Hutchinson

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