Chow injury worry as Colliers end run

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THE run had to end eventually, and the team that last beat Whitley Bay FC way back on January 11 did it again at Hillheads on Saturday.

With the games coming thick and fast there were five changes to the starting line-up for the visit of Ashington from the side which faced beat Stokesley on the Wednesday night.

Back came Kyle Hayes, David Coulson, Gareth Williams, Gary Ormston, Lee Kerr and Paul Chow.

The crowd of more than 500 saw a great save from Ashington keeper Karl Dryden in the opening minute when he saved a rocket from David Pounder.

And it was a sign of things to come as Hayes in the Whitley goal was soon in action too, saving well from Johnny Godsmark as both teams made a lively start.

It was the visitors who created the next opportunity with former Whitley striker Phill Bell planting a header wide from a good position after Godsmark had provided a fine cross after 11 minutes.

Then the same player linked up well with Stephen Young a minute later but again the finish was weak.

Bell was not to be denied, though, and he gave Ashington the lead after 16 minutes when Hayes spilled an Andrew Johnson effort and the tall striker headed the rebound home from close range.

This stung Bay into action and Chow hit a post with a low shot across the face of goal after a through ball from Kerr.

Chow came close with a header and Craig McFarlane saw a long range effort gathered by Dryden.

The Ashington keeper produced another fantastic save from a Chow header and then blocked a point blank Coulson effort when the Bay skipper really should have scored.

At this stage it seemed just a matter of time before Bay forced a breakthrough, but the last two chances of the first half fell to the visitors with Chris Scott trying his luck from long range and forcing Hayes into a tip over the bar and then a poor defensive header let in Stephen Young for a low shot that Hayes tipped the ball round the post.

At the start of the second half Pounder again went close for Bay, shooting just over, but the visitors doubled their lead after 53 minutes when Johnson flicked home a near post header from a corner.

Bay tried to respond with Darren Timmons heading just wide from a Damon Robson free kick, but when Kerr crashed a superb shot off the underside bar just after the hour mark you got the feeling that even this team, who had pulled off the seemingly impossible before, were going to have one of those days.

That feeling was compounded Dryden pulled off another fantastic save, tipping the ball over from a header.

To complete an unhappy afternoon for the home side, after Ian Chandler had used all three subs, Vase talisman Chow had to be helped from the field after going over on his ankle.

It looked a serious injury but is not as bad as first feared and Bay will be hoping he is fit for Wembley.

Dryden completed his outstanding afternoon by denying Kerr again, and as Ashington celebrated their win – deserved for their keeper’s performance at least – the talk around Hillheads from the home fans was not so much about the end of the 18-game winning streak but of the fitness of Chow.

Whitley Bay: Hayes, McFarlane, Pounder (Elliott), Timmons (Taylor), Coulson, Williams, Ormston, Robson, Kerr, Chow, Fawcett (Mason). Subs not used: Rowe, Burke.