Ashington's new ground has been beckoning me for a few weeks and I wanted to get there before the winter sets in and this was as good a chance as any. It's location is not easily found and I was at least slightly glad to discover that I was not the only person to have problems reaching it - quite a few people from Northallerton had the same problem, including some of the players.
It is a very nice, tidy, set-up within a new housing development but the lack of direction and/or road signs added to the difficulties of finding it. The clubhouse is very clean and hospital-like and has yet to develope the atmosphere which used to permeate the old ground, Portland Park, nevertheless, Worthington's Bitter at £1.oo per pint is attractive enough and it was very palatable! A nice mince 'n' onion pie just before kick-off certainly set me up for the rest of the afternoon.
The Colliers took the game to Town from the off and probably enjoyed most of the possession during the first half but looked as though they would go in level having failed to capitalise on their territorial advantage but with the clock ticking into injury time Gareth Bainbridge broke into the box and sent a lovely chip over Northallerton keeper Jody Barford. This looked to be heading into the goal but Lee McAndrew forced it over the line to be sure. Half time 1-0 and off for a cup of not-very-strong Bovril and a hamburger with very soggy onions.
Northallerton came out revitalised in the second half with the introduction of Gary Shardha in place of a lack-lustre Jason Newall and took the game to Ashington for the opening ten minutes however Colliers gradually regained control of the game and Robbie Cockburn shot home from close range to put the home side further ahead. 2-0
Ashington made the game safe when some good work down the left by substitute Lee Scott saw him pull it back for McAndrew to drill in a shot which was well saved by Barford but his parry only fell to David Rayner who shot home from close range. 3-0
Northallerton grabbed a late consolation goal when Shardha was on hand to blast in a hopeful punt into the penalty area from deep but it was too little too late with the final whistle confirming the three points for the hosts. 3-1
Ashington: Kyle Hayes, David Rayner, Justin Millican, David Tremble, Paul Dunn, Ross Atkinson (Lee Scott), Michael Fenwick, Christian Graham, Robert Cockburn, Gareth Bainbridge, Lee McAndrew (Luke Parkinson).
Unused substitutes David Bibby, Daniel Kennerly, Paul Simpson.
Northallerton Town: Jody Barford, Christopher Walker, Stuart Jackson, James Crossman, Steven Purcifer, Jamie Walton (Scott McNichol), Steven Roberts, Jason Newall (Gary Shardha), Gabriel Radu, Carl Chillingsworth, Paul Jack.
Unused substitutes Patrick Pisani, Martyn Speight, Stuart Dawson.