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Stockton Town

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Ashington AFC

Sat 1 Feb 2020 | Ebac Northern League Division One | Away

Stadium

Bishopton Road West

Attendance

421

Referee

Derric Wade

Kick-Off

15:00

By Brian Bennett

Ashington completed an unwanted hat-trick on Saturday when they went down against Stockton Town. A goal shortly before half time from Fred Woodhouse and a deflected effort from full back Dan McWilliams quarter of an hour from full time sealed the win for the Ebac Northern League first division leaders and promotion favourites.

However, despite the reverse, the Colliers – who tumbled out of the Buildbase FA Vase and also lost a group match in the Brooks Mileson Memorial League Cup at the Bishopton Road West ground – should take heart after what was a spirited and encouraging overall performance. It is usual practice for the manager of a losing side to emerge from the dressing rooms wearing a glum expression – but in Ashington’s case, boss Ian Skinner was far from despondent as he spoke about his young fledglings: “We haven’t got to lose perspective,” he said, “We had five 18 year olds in the starting eleven today and yes we can get frustrated when they give the ball away or pick the wrong pass but they are young lads who are trying to develop in one of the toughest leagues around. In the first half I thought we wanted to slightly over-play in and around the Stockton penalty area and there were times when we tried to work an extra pass or at times wanted the perfect sight at goal which isn’t always going to happen, when we could have taken a shot on. We moved the ball well and some of the football we played was really, really good.”

He continued: “We have also got to remember the level of opposition we have played in the last few games (West Auckland, Consett and Stockton Town). Stockton are a good side who are unbeaten in the league at home and who have only conceded 13 goals - so it was always going to be difficult for us.”

The Wansbeck side were dealt a pre match blow when lynchpin and skipper Curtis Coppen was ruled out by illness with Tom Bramley and Owen Gourlay forming a partnership at the heart of the defence. And things looked ominous as after only 90 seconds as Woodhouse hit the side netting after a cross by James Risbrough. Ashington were shot-shy in the first period and indeed it was just past the half hour mark before they had their first opening when an effort by Brandon Slater from the edge of the area was blocked.

Five minutes from the break – and against the run of play – striker Fred Woodhouse broke the deadlock when he turned the ball home after a cross from the left by Stockton debutant Jonathan Franks. Shortly afterwards, the lead could so easily have been doubled when a simple ball over the top released Jamie Owens but his shot struck the inside of the post and was cleared.

Early in the second period, Lee Scott had an effort taken by home stopper Lee Roberts then David Luke – wearing the captain’s armband in Coppen’s absence – got into a good position but failed to apply a proper connection. In the 53rd minute, a header at the back post from skipper Adam Nicholson hit the bar from a corner by Max Craggs then midway through, David Edwards had a shot from 25 yards which was clutched by Roberts. However in the 75th minute - and on the counter attack after Ashington had lost possession - a drive by McWilliams clipped a defender and although ‘keeper Adam McHugh got a good hand on the ball, he could not prevent it from rolling over the line and into the net. In the final minute of the 90, substitute Danny Anderson passed to Ben Gaffney whose cross saw Thomas Kalthoeber’s header pouched by Roberts.

Ashington: McHugh, Kalthoeber, Gaffney, Edwards, Bramley, Gourlay, Hanson (Anderson 85 minutes), Luke, Scott, Price, Slater (Johnston 85 minutes)

Subs not used: Fawcett, Biwer, Brannen.

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