North Shields 0, Ashington 1: EBAC Northern League, Division One
There was late heartbreak as the Robins fail to hold on for a point against Ashington at a rain-soaked Daren Persson Stadium last night (Wednesday).
Despite a good start to the game for the Robins, they lost both Jordan Summerly and Paul Robinson to injury in the first half. And as the rain came thundering down, the game looked set to finish as a drab 0-0 draw.
However, with seconds left on the clock, Gerard Richardson rose highest from a corner to give the Colliers their first points of the season.
The game began on a sour note for the Robins as, with only five minutes on the clock, Summerly came off worse in a 50/50 challenge with an Ashington attacker, picking up what looked to be a dead leg. After a minute or two of delay, Marc needed to replace the defender with Kieran Aplin.
This setback didn’t seem to hamper the hosts as only four minutes later, Lewis Suddick sent a beautiful cross into the box, only for Bainbridge and Carr to not quite be able to reach the ball before it was cleared to safety.
The Robins maintained their attacking momentum in the 11th minute when Aplin made a good run down the left-hand side of the Colliers half, only for his clever flick into the box to not fall to Gareth Bainbridge the way he would have liked; giving the Ashington keeper a reasonable simple save.
The longer this first half went on, the sooner it seemed that the Robins would take the lead. Ryan Carr came closest to opening the scoring in the 15th minute, following a Suddick cross, however, despite a heroic diving header, he couldn’t quite reach the ball.
Then, in the 19th minute, Robinson tried his luck from long range for the hosts, only for the Colliers shot-stopper to make a comfortable save.
It was at this moment that the heavens seemed to open, drenching everything and everyone who chose not to dive for cover.
After a moment of quiet play, the Robins support thought that they had taken the lead in the 29th minute, however, Craig Spooner’s long-range shot whistled millimetres over the visiting goal.
Three minutes later, Carr managed to have an effort on target, only for Conor Grant, who was having a very good game for the Colliers, to parry the effort around the post.
As the game entered the 37th minute, Ashington managed to have their first real effort on goal, when Damien Stevens fired an effort from the edge of the penalty area at the Robins goal, forcing Greg Purvis to muddy his gloves.
The injury bug struck again in the 32nd minute as Robinson was forced off with an injury sustained when making a challenge; giving Jack Cooper his debut for the club.
He almost had an immediate impact when with minutes left in the first half, he fired a dangerous cross into the box, with the ball falling to Jack Donnison just on the edge of the area. Unfortunately, his effort was blocked heroically by a last ditch challenge from a visiting defender.
As the second half kicked into gear, it was a wonder as to how the Robins had not taken the lead as in the 50th minute, Suddick had yet another effort on goal, only for Grant to make another reasonable save.
After the game was broken up by a number of substitutions for the visitors, Bainbridge almost handed the Robins the lead in the 67th minute when he managed to make contact with a good cross from Carr, however, he couldn’t quite get a firm touch on the ball as it bobbled wide of the post.
With the game seemingly heading for a draw, giving both sides their first point of the season, Ashington broke the hearts of Robins players and fans alike when, having been awarded a corner following some emergency defending at the back post, Gerard Richardson towered above his marker to head the ball home past the rooted Purvis in goal.
And with almost no time left on the clock for a comeback, the Robins were left to rue their wasted chances as the referee blew the final whistle; consigning the hosts to their third defeat from three games.
Final Score: North Shields 0 Ashington 1
North Shields: Greg Purvis, Jack Donnison, Jordan Summerly (Kieran Aplin, 5), Craig Spooner (Cam Cunningham, 78), Kevin Hughes, Liam McNamara, Lewis Suddick, Ben Sampson, Gareth Bainbridge, Ryan Carr, Paul Robinson (Jack Cooper 32). Unused substitutes: Gary Ormston, Ben Richardson. Yellow cards: Kieran Aplin, 65.
Ashington: Conor Grant, Lewis King, Liam Armstrong, Matthew Wade (Adam Humphries, 55), Glen Caygill, David Edwards, Damien Stevens (Samuel Norris 52), Kyle Downey, Zak Atkinson, Tony Stephenson (Jermaine Francois, 72), Gerard Richardson. Unused substitutes: Channon North, Jake Cunningham. Yellow cards: Gerard Richardson, 76; Kyle Downey, 42.