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Ashington AFC 3
Van-Zandvliet (9', 54'), Spooner (48')
1 Dunston
Lamb (36')

REPORT | Ashington 3 Dunston 1

Dunston fell to a second consecutive league defeat as Ashington ran out 3-1 winners at Woodhorn Lane. A defeat which sees Dunston fall out of the Northern Premier League East play-off places.

One of Ashington’s newest aquisitions Paul Van-Zandvliet put the hosts ahead just before the ten minute-mark. Jordan Lamb found an equaliser for Dunston 10 minutes before half-time.

However, the three points would belong to The Colliers after Craig Spooner fired home a free kick, and then Van-Zandvliet grabbed his second goal of the game early in the second half. Ashington would go on to finish the game with nine-men as both Nathan Buddle and Simon Jakab were dismissed.

Ashington certainly started the game the brighter of the two sides as they looked to avenge last week’s defeat. They immediately caused the Dunston backline problems as both Buddle and Summerly came close inside eight minutes.

Paul Van-Zandvliet then struck a well-hit shot on nine minutes past Dan Staples to put The Colliers ahead and take full advantage from their bright start.

With The Colliers in the lead, they continued to push on and look for the second. Gateshead-loanee Oli Thompson was next to come close as he bent a curling effort around the post.

Unfortunately, despite not being a dirty game by any means, the cards were brandished by the referee at almost every foul with the likes of Djalo and Camarda being booked in the opening 20 minutes, and a few Ashington players being booked as well.

The game would go on to finish with nine players in the book (it might have been more as we lost count) and two red cards.

Despite the slow start to the encounter, Dunston began to settle down after half an hour, and began to look threatening as the first half winded down. Some excellent footwork from David Robinson resulted in him playing the ball across the box to Lamb, who slammed the ball home.

Just seconds after equalising, Sado Djalo almost put Dunston ahead. The number nine was played through on goal however, Karl Dryden got down low and smothered the effort.

Dunston thought they had taken the lead with just minutes to spare in the first half. Djalo played the ball down to Luke Carr who volleyed the ball into the top corner from distance however, the flag was up for a tight offside in the build-up.

The hosts began the second half in the same way they started the first half – with intent. Jack Walker was booked when he brought down his man 25-yards-out. Craig Spooner stepped up and sent his effort flying into the goal to restore Ashington’s lead.

Only a few minutes later, things went from bad to worse for Dunston as some sloppy play at the back resulted in Van-Zandvliet firing a rocket into the top corner from distance.

With Dunston struggling to create anything in front of goal, a glimmer of hope was presented when both Nathan Buddle and Simon Jakab were sent off in the space of seconds on 66 minutes. Jakab hauled down Lamb, who was in on goal, to receive a straight red card. Buddle, who had already been booked, protested the decision and was subsequently given a second yellow card.

Dunston began to turn the screw with having a two-man advantage and there was more positive news when Jack Maskell was brought on after a long period out injured.Things got even better when Liam Thear was brought on. Thear’s first appearance since the pre-season game at Whitley Bay and, making his 200th league appearance for the club.

Maskell looked to make an instant impact and hit the side netting from close-range on 74 minutes. Four minutes later, Luke Carr also missed from close-range as Dunston looked for a route back into the game.Maskell was unlucky again as the 19-year-old striker leapt high however, his looping header on 82 minutes bounced back off the foot of the post.

With ten minutes added on, Thear also hit the side netting and then forced a save from Dryden two minutes later.

Ultimately, it was a frustrating afternoon and we drop down to seventh in the league table after the opening six games. Next up, attention turns back to the FA Trophy as we make the long trip to Chesire to take on Nantwich Town.

Report by Callum Pattison

Image Credit - Beauty Time Photography

Published Saturday 16th September 2023 (last updated Sunday 17th September 2023)