By Brian Bennett
Ashington FC’s scheduled Ebac Northern League first division clash against Dunston UTS fell foul of the weather on Saturday – but their were still a couple of positives to come out of the situation for Woodhorn Lane boss Steve Bowey.
With the ground at the UTS Stadium frozen and the clash consequently called off, the Colliers manager arranged a friendly against neighbours Bedlington Terriers. Bowey was delighted that his side came out 6-1 winners but he was overjoyed that two players – James Taylor and the recently signed Chris Carr - made a return to competitive action after suffering long term injuries.
On target for the Colliers were Luke Salmon (2), Callum Johnston, Kyle Downey, Dylan Williamson and a triallist: “The game against Bedlington was all about the lads getting game time,” said Bowey, “I was also able to ask players to play in different positions so I could get to know a bit about them.
It worked out very well but the outstanding two plusses saw Taylor and Carr on the pitch. Taylor got 20 minutes and Carr 70 and that to me was about confidence and the belief that they can get back into the game. I’m not going to rush Taylor back whilst in Carr’s case, if he can get another tens days training in, he could be pushing the likes of Wayne Buchanan, Craig Scott, Ryan Bell and Ben Christensen for a starting place.”
Bowey continued: “Williamson also got an hour and ‘keeper Luc Glasper played throughout so I was happy.”
Meanwhile Ashington failed in their attempt to get Dale Pearson’s red card overturned following his sending off in the last home game against West Auckland: “The referee stated it was for a two footed tackle,” said Bowey, “We slowed the footage down and lodged an appeal but the three man commission dismissed it. I was very disappointed.”
Meanwhile Ashington are trying out Friday night football and on December 15, will face Bishop Auckland at the Lane. The clash has been brought forward from the Saturday and football secretary Gav Perry said: “The last time we played under the lights in a league game at our place on a Friday night was on two occasions back in April 2014. We lost 2-0 to Shildon then a fortnight later beat Crook Town 7-3.”
Boss Bowey added: “With my previous clubs, I’ve experienced playing on a Friday evening and generally, the attendance through the gate is higher. We’ll see how things go and if the general feedback is positive and gets a nice tick in the box then we’ll be looking to do it again.”
The Colliers are also giving advanced notice that their game at home to Morpeth Town on Boxing Day will kick off at noon: “If the weather conditions are inclement, the extra hour could have a big bearing on a thumbs up rather than a thumbs down decision,” said Bowey, “The other factor in the equation is that it allows the players and supporters time to return to their families.”