Match Report | Ashington (H)
Updated: Mar 20
Bright skies over Northallerton brought hope that Town's fight against potential wasn't in vain. The previous league outing saw Town prevail victorious against fellow strugglers, Bishop Auckland and Town were looking to make it two wins in two league games.
The only changes from last week's win were Ciaran Banks and Sean Chidanyika coming in to replace unavailable duo Nathan Stephenson and that day's match-winner Alex Bruton. There was also a spot for new signing Luke Jones, fresh from signing his loan move from National League North side York City.
The game began fairly even, with perhaps the visitors shading things early doors, with Petrovic making a smart stop within the opening 5 minutes.
By the time the game had started to take shape it was anyone's game. Both sides were pushing forward in an end-to-end battle, but the game was still somewhat devoid of clear cut opportunities.
Both sides found themselves guilty of trying too hard to find an opener with long range efforts becoming the weapon of choice - and once more to no avail.
The first half was quite easily summed up as being a competitive encounter with the majority of the play being battled in the middle of the park and it was 5 minutes before HT that we had the breakthrough.
Shaun Ryder found himself with the ball down the Town right and after a run he whipped in a ball which founds it way to Joey Hope inside the Ashington area and he was able to fire home on the stretch to give Town the lead at a key stage in the game and also to score his first for the club.
1 - 0 Town
Not prepared to settle with the single goal, Town looked to press the advantage and add to their tally but were unable to do so in the latter stages of the half.
HT - Northallerton 1 - 0 Ashington
A big second period was required from Town in order to see out this game, with the visitors occupying the top 3 prior to the game and were sure to come out firing.
This proved to be the case. Ashington came out putting Town under pressure without creating too many clear opportunities, this passage of play until around the hour mark where once more an end-to-end affair began to ensue.
Jack Stapley entered the fray in place of Ciaran Banks, and was subject to penalty shouts from Town players and fans but the referee remained unmoved and shortly after Sean Chidanyika fired over when the ball broke free at the edge of the area following a corner. This was to be an omen for things to come.
We finally hit the breakthrough in the 77th minute. Set-piece maestro Dale Hopson turning provider once more, his delivery from a free-kick found Micky Rae in the area, who connected and lifted his header over the Keeper and in to back of the net to increase the Town lead.
2 - 0 Town
It was only a matter of minutes later that Town found themselves with another free-kick. This time Hopson took aim himself and his effort on goal was well held by the Ashington GK. But to Town's detriment Ashington went straight up the other end and pulled a goal back through Adam Johnson.
2 - 1 Town
The game then descended into a chaotic exchange of goals...
Almost immediately following the Ashington goal Shaun Ryder almost broke the goal with his absolute screamer of a strike. The ball found it's way out to the edge of the area and into the path of Ryder who duly rifled it into the top corner (and according to Physio, Rob Bell almost breaking the stanchion).
The 2-goal cushion restored.
3 - 1 Town
Town then made their second change following the goal. With new signing, Luke Jones (on loan from York City) entering the fray and Sean Chidanyika making way. You know what's coming don't you?
He wasn't on the pitch a mere 2 minutes and Luke Jones had his debut goal. The lively Joey Hope this time turning creator. Hope got in down the left-hand side and squared across the area for the oncoming Jones who slotted home for a debut goal off the bench. Scenes.
4 - 1 Town
Following the rapid-fire goals for Northallerton, the game began to settle down and Town were comfortably seeing the game with the win all-but guaranteed.
The only mark on a fine closing period to the second half was a stoppage time goal for Lewis Suddick, but it had no bearing on the game with the result long gone for Ashington.
FT - Northallerton 4 - 2 Ashington
Back-to-back wins in the league, alongside other results falling in Town's favour sees us gain another place and another step away from the bottom of the table.
Petrovic, Snook, Graham, Crust, Marron, Ryder, Banks, Chidanyika, Rae, Hopson, Hope
Subs: Stapley, L Jones, D Jones
Unused: Wilson, Woodhouse
Goals: Hope (40), Rae (75), Ryder (83), L Jones (85)
McHugh, Doyle, Summerly, Aziakonou, Kalthoeber, Harmison, Cowburn, Anderson, Lashley, Suddick, Taylor
Subs: Briggs, Robinson, Johnson
Goals: Johnson (77), Suddick (90+4)