Ashington AFC



Sunderland RCA

Tue 6 Oct 2020 | Ebac Northern League Division One | Home


The dwmedia Stadium




Alex Clark



By Brian Bennett

Ashington climbed up to third from top spot in the first division of the Ebac Northern League after a 3-1 victory over nine-man Sunderland RCA at The dwmedia Stadium on Tuesday night.

The visitors took a shock lead through Thomas Best but Max Cowburn claimed the assist for the equaliser scored by Ben Harmison before the ex Whickham winger hit a second half brace to lead the Colliers to a sixth consecutive victory.

The visitors had Layton Watts sent off during the first period and then on the hour, went down to nine when Nathan O’Neill also saw red. The action was unrelenting all the way through and began even before kick off when assistant referee Simon Williamson pulled up in the warm up with an injury. The home club put out an appeal for a qualified official via the public address system but when no volunteer came forward and after a consultation with the Football Association, it was decided that the preferred option was for the game to go ahead without a second assistant. Consequently the start was delayed for 13 minutes – but when proceedings got under way, there was action from the first whistle.

Dean Briggs sprayed the ball out to Bobby Taylor and when he crossed, Ben Harmison put his effort wide. In the second minute, O’Neill found himself clear but smashed a half volley wide from 20 yards then at the other end, a through pass from Max Emmerson released Briggs who advanced and side stepped debutant ‘keeper Matthew Wilkinson but saw his shot cleared off the line by Max Allen.

The Sunderland side took the lead in the fifth minute after exploiting acres of space with Best unleashing a low right footer from 20 yards wide of home ‘keeper Adam McHugh and inside the post. RCA continued to dominate with confidence and were full value for their lead. Indeed any impartial observer would have thought they looked like the side with five straight victories under their belts as opposed to the home outfit who had started slowly and whose next chance in the 13th minute came out of nothing when Ben Gaffney’s intended cross whipped in from the left touchline curled just over the bar.

The Colliers grew into the game and RCA defender and captain Greg Swansbury made a vital interception to divert a cross by Cowburn for a corner. Karl Ross was denied then a cross from Harmison saw Cowburn hit a sizzling right footed volley wide. For the second time in as many matches, Ashington full-back Thomas Kalthoeber was thwarted by an outstanding save from the opposing ‘keeper. On this occasion - after receiving from Taylor - Kalthoeber’s left footer was goalbound until Wilkinson tipped over.

Harmison sliced wide from an Emmerson cross before the home side levelled on the half hour. A deep corner from the right by Cowburn was headed into the roof of the net by Harmison for his fifth league goal of the campaign. Five minutes later, referee Alex Clark had no hesitation in brandishing a red card to Watts following an off the ball incident with Karl Ross and within sixty seconds, the lively Emmerson had a shot blocked by Wilkinson but Briggs – with the goal at his mercy – side footed over the rebound from six yards.

Home skipper Curtis Coppen did well to head clear from a ball played into the middle by Best and a breathtaking half finished all square at 1-1.

Early doors after the break, Ross found Taylor down the flank but his centre went across the face of goal. However in the 55th minute, the ten men from Sunderland had a great opportunity to regain the lead when O’Neill was through in the inside right channel but fired over.

Ross and Harmison combined to set up Cowburn who was just off target then on the hour, the visitors were reduced to nine men when O’Neill was red carded following another off the ball incident.

Three minutes later, the Colliers went 2-1 ahead. A patient build up saw Taylor pass to Cowburn whose vicious right footer from 22 yards gave Wilkinson no chance before the ball nestled inside the corner. Within a minute, it could have been three when Kalthoeber crossed from the right but Harmison’s weak side footed shot was easily gathered by Wilkinson.

Ashington continued to look for a third and after Taylor put the ball narrowly wide of the upright and Gaffney had been denied by the away stopper, substitute Lee Scott and Kalthoeber combined down the right. The latter crossed low but Harmison just failed to connect. However in the 80th minute, Cowburn effectively put the game to bed as he claimed his second of the night. He picked up possession then caught the RCA defence napping as he struck a right footed effort from distance between Wilkinson and the post. Ashington’s final chance came on 82 minutes when Cowburn crossed from the right and after Harmison had headed the ball down, Scott’s shot was blocked.

Ashington: McHugh, Kalthoeber, Gaffney, Emmerson (Anderson 83 minutes), Coppen, Bramley, Taylor (Slater 77 minutes), Ross, Harmison, Briggs (Scott 77 minutes), Cowburn

Subs not used: Cranston, Grant (gk).


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