Welbourn becomes Coastal Spirit’s all time leading goal scorer

RECORD BREAKER: Ash Welbourn has become Coastal Spirit's all-time leading scorer. Photo: Coastal Spirit.

Coastal Spirit striker Ash Welbourn moved past one of his best friends when he became the club’s all-time leading scorer.

The 28-year-old went past the record set by his good mate Gareth Turnbull to notch his 95th goal in 118 appearances during a 4-3 loss to Nomads on July 21.

Then, within 10 days, he became Coastal’s first player to surpass the 100 goal mark. On Tuesday night he scored two goals as Coastal defeated Western AFC 4-1 in their English Cup semi-final at English Park. The win sets up a final with rivals Cashmere Technical.

On Saturday, he added four goals in a club record 11-1 Southern League thumping of Queenstown.

“Gareth and I are in regular contact and are good mates. In fact, he was at my wedding so there’s a lot of good history there,” he said. “He flew down from Auckland to be on hand for our Chatham Cup game just in case I broke the record. Unfortunately it didn’t happen but it was a nice touch,” he said.

“His way of looking at it is that records are made to be broken as mine will be when I’m done,” he said.

Coastal Spirit have been around since 2007 after the amalgamation of Rangers AFC and New Brighton AFC.

Welbourn returned to the team at the start of the year.

He first played for Coastal straight out of Christchurch Boys’ High School 10 years ago.

He has spent the past three years in London playing for London Polytechnic FC and helping them to a treble of titles, their first taste of success in more than 160 years.

Coastal coach Ekow Quainoo lured him back to the club, even though Welbourn had won a Chatham Cup with Cashmere Technical in 2014 before departing for England. “Ekow told me I was six or seven goals behind and I thought that was something that sounded appealing,” Welbourn said.

“It’s funny because I don’t think too often about scoring goals because we play two up front and it’s my job to hold the ball up and get other players involved ,” he said.

“So scoring is just an added bonus.”