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Ashington AFC

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Newcastle Benfield

Sat 5 Sep 2020 | Ebac Northern League Division One | Home

Stadium

The dwmedia Stadium

Attendance

300

Referee

Craig Chatten

Kick-Off

15:00

By Brian Bennett

“If it had been a boxing match, the contest would have been stopped by half time,” uttered one clearly disappointed Ashington supporter as he left the ground after watching his side lose their Ebac Northern League first division curtain raiser against Newcastle Benfield at the newly named DW Media Stadium on Saturday.

He was right too – and had it not been an inspired performance by teenage ‘keeper Alfie Gordon, Ashington would have been out of sight and The Lions could have had no complaints. As it was, the home side eventually found a way through just prior to the interval courtesy of Lee Scott – only in the final analysis, it wasn’t enough as they conceded two goals in as many minutes in the closing stages. Ashington were bright in the opening exchanges with Bobby Taylor involved in almost everything they did going forward. The winger shot over from distance in only the second minute; latched onto a pass from Dean Briggs only to fire wide then swung over a corner from the right which was glanced on by home skipper Curtis Coppen but the inrushing Thomas Bramley headed over.

Benfield’s first opportunity saw Cyril Giraud thwarted by Adam McHugh who fisted his effort away then back came the Colliers and the start of an unbelievable performance by Gordon who tipped over an angled drive from Jack Butler then smothered on the line after Scott had struck the base of the post when he looked a certain scorer. A cross by Ben Gaffney was glanced on by Briggs but deflected wide then in a rare raid into the home box, referee Craig Chatten waved aside penalty appeals from the visitors after Bramley had slipped and made contact on the ball with his hand.

Midway through the half, Ben Sampson made another maraudering run down the right flank to find Butler whose shot was deflected behind. Unfortunately it was to be the final action for the tricky Butler who was led off with a hamstring injury and replaced by Brandon Slater. The next quarter hour saw Gordon come to the fore. He turned around a shot from Briggs following a darting run by Taylor then Sampson and Scott combined to set up Slater whose effort was pushed away by Gordon. In the 37th minute, Taylor was upended by full back Matthew Parker and referee Chatten pointed to the spot - but Scott’s right footer was clutched by Gordon to his right. In the 43rd minute, Taylor squared the ball to Briggs whose weak effort was taken by the stopper and seconds later, it appeared that Gordon’s brilliance had again denied the Colliers as Scott controlled a cross from Gaffney and his shot was pushed out by the ‘keeper. However the ball rebounded to Scott and the striker netted from a tight angle to break the deadlock.

Three minutes into the second half, Richie Slaughter was not far away with a drive from 30 yards before the game was held up for several minutes. Referee Chatten could not continue due to an ankle injury and after an appeal over the public address system for any qualified official to come forward, former referee Allan Young, Benfield’s press officer, volunteered to run the line. The crowd, again a sell out capacity of 300 under the FA and Government guidelines, gave Mr Young a warm round of applause as he made his way to the far touchline whilst the referee’s assistant – Morpeth based Tom Chambers – took over the whistle.

McHugh was called into action to tip away from Parker then from Giraud’s corner, a shot from substitute Mark Turnbull was blocked. On the hour, Giraud was clean through but when he fired past McHugh, the ball thudded against the upright. Five minutes later the woodwork was rattled again – on this occasion at the other end when Slater’s free-kick struck the inside of the post with Gordon beaten.

In the 72nd minute, Anderson and Briggs played a swift one-two but when the former fired goalwards, Joe Robson cleared off the line. The Lions were looking stronger and stronger as the game went on and they left Ashington numb as quickfire and identical goals from Turnbull and Paul Brayson turned this game completely on its head.

The equaliser came in the 86th minute when Turnbull glanced into the corner then a cross by Kane Evans saw the unmarked Brayson make no mistake as he directed his header wide of McHugh. And Brayson could have rubbed salt into sore wounds in the third minute of time added on but he hit the side netting.

Ashington: McHugh, Sampson, Gaffney, Emmerson (luke 79 minutes),Coppen, Bramley, Taylor (Robson 72 minutes), Anderson, Scott, Briggs, Butler (Slater 26 minutes)

Subs not used: Kalthoeber, Ross.

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