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Newcastle Benfield

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Ashington AFC

Sat 8 Feb 2020 | Ebac Northern League Division One | Away

Stadium

Sam Smith's Park

Attendance

175

Referee

Glen Hart

Kick-Off

15:00

By Brian Bennett

There can be very entertaining goalless draws - and there can be dreary ones – and unfortunately Saturday’s clash at Sam Smith’s Park between Newcastle Benfield and Ashington fell into the latter category. However, as the Wansbeck side went into the game with back to back defeats against Consett and Stockton Town over the past fortnight, the overriding feature was that they emerged with some reward which was fully warranted.

In fact Colliers boss Ian Skinner thought a point was the least his side deserved – a statement which supporters of the Woodhorn Lane club would wholeheartedly agree with - against an outfit comfortably occupying a place in mid table of the Ebac Northern League’s first division. Ashington had a spring in their step from the first whistle and totally dominated the opening period with the only facet missing from their game being a goal.

They almost broke the deadlock in the 11th minute - until Benfield’s long serving and highly acclaimed goalkeeper Andrew Grainger had the final say. Dom Price let fly with an effort from fully 25 yards which was goalbound but Grainger got his fingertips to the ball to divert it onto the bar and over. In the 20th minute, ever-energetic midfielder David Luke found Lee Scott who set up a shooting chance for Brandon Slater but his shot from the edge of the area was blocked.

It was a full half hour before the home side threatened when Cyril Giraud played in Peter Glen-Ravenhill but his cross was collected by ‘keeper Adam McHugh. Ashington continued to probe but moves either broke down as they approached the attacking third or were rebuffed by a resolute Benfield defence. With half time approaching, the Colliers went route one. Price kept in a clearance by McHugh and pulled the ball back for Slater who fired wide. At the other end, Paul Brayson cut inside but shot straight at McHugh then seconds from the end of the period, a 25 yarder by Anderson flashed just wide of Grainger’s left hand post.

After the break, Ashington – now kicking into the teeth of the wind – failed to have as much dominance with the hosts coming more into the game and in the 53rd minute, a vicious free kick by Brayson from 25 yards smacked against the inside of the post and was cleared. On the hour, the woodwork was rattled again – on this occasion at the other end - when a right footer from the edge of the box by Slater dipped dramatically but came back off the bar with Grainger beaten.

Chances were again in short supply until Glen-Ravenhill spurned two good opportunities then Tom Bramley met a corner from the right by substitute Ben Sampson but put his half volley wide. In the dying seconds, Glen-Ravenhill got his head to a cross by Brayson but his effort was clutched by McHugh.

Ashington: McHugh, Kalthoeber (Sampson 37 minutes), Gaffney, Luke, Coppen, Bramley, Hanson (Johnston 85 minutes), Anderson (Biwer 46 minutes), Scott, Price, Slater

Subs not used: Gourlay, Brannen.

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