Ashington AFC 2-2 West Auckland Town
Ashington and West Auckland shared the spoils in a 2-2 draw as a bizarre refereeing decision saw Arran Wearmouth sent off just two minutes after coming on at Woodhorn Lane.
Zak Atkinson opened the scoring on 44 minutes from the penalty spot after Chris Hunter, who joined on loan from South Shields, was judged to have fouled in the box.
Amar Purewal levelled proceedings on 62 minutes heading in Adam Mitchell’s corner before Atkinson regained Ashington’s lead with a well-placedfinish.
However, West responded late on through Alex Francis though remain without a win in six matches.
The result sees West in 9th, nine points behind leaders Consett.
Forrest made just the one change following the 4-3 defeat at the Belle View stadium with Hunter replacing Lewis Dodds.
West almost took the lead six minutes in when Mitchell’s in swinging corner found Parker though his bullet header was cleared off the line by Ashington captain David Edwards.
Three minutes later, the hosts had a golden chance to go infront as Atkinson found himself through on goal only to be kept out with a good block by Shane Bland.
In the 22nd minute, Liam Hegarty squared the ball to Mitchell, who rounded Conor Grant but was unable to squeeze it in from a tight angle.
Soon after, Nathan Fisher was denied at close range as the ball ricocheted into the feet of Purewal, who remarkably hit the crossbar from a just a few yards out.
West continued to up their tempo and thought they went ahead in the 26th minute when Fisher tapped in following Hegarty’s through ball, though after some brief words with the linesman, referee John Mulligan inexplicably decided to rule it out for offside.
More drama followed just four minutes later as Wearmouth, who had just come on to replace the injured Hegarty was shown a straight red card for a sliding challenge which caused scenes of confusion from the West technical area.
In the 44th minute, Ashington were awarded a penalty when Hunter was deemed to have fouled Atkinson in the 18-yard box with disbelief from Forrest.
Atkinson confidently sent Bland the wrong way to give the hosts the lead heading into the interval.
West deservedly equalised after the hour mark when Purewal converted Mitchell’s corner to score his ninth goal of the season.
Purewal almost got his second in the 73rd minute with substitute Adam Burnicle’s lay-off finding the skipper, who could only direct his shot straight at Grant.
Ashington punished West for missing chance after chance in the 81st minute when Atkinson got his second of the afternoon with a sweetly struck strike into the bottom corner which gave Bland no chance.
The lead lasted just two minutes however as Francis equalised with a right-footed shot as it cannoned in off the crossbar though West will feel hard done by that they didn’t leave with all three points.
Next up for West is a Durham Challenge Cup first round tie against Ryhope CW at the Wanted Stadium on Tuesday evening (7:30).
Ashington – Grant, King, Hornsby, Henderson, Caygill, Edwards (c), McAndrew (Norris, 65), Downey (Wade, 62), Atkinson, Richardson, Youldon (Bowey, 70)
Subs not used – North, Cunningham
West Auckland – Bland, Morris, Price, Hunter, Parker, Hegarty (Wearmouth, 28), Snaith, Francis (Colquhoun, 87), Fisher (c) (Burnicle, 69), Purewal, Mitchell
Subs not used – Dodds, Connor
Goals – Ashington – Atkinson (44 pen, 81)
Goals – West – Purewal (62), Francis (83)
Referee – John Mulligan
Attendance – 169
Report by Harry Crowe
Photo by Andy Mitchell.