Chris Moore’s match-winning goal on the stroke of half-time put the icing on the anniversary cake for Whitley Bay manager Ian Chandler at Hillheads on Saturday.
It may have been a scrappy effort at the end of what had been an equally untidy opening 45 minutes – but did not matter to Chandler, celebrating ten years in the hot seat, or Moore, who from six yards side footed home a cross from the left by Michael McMullen wide of Ashington keeper Karl Dryden.
It was a cruel blow for the Colliers to take and more so after they had enjoyed greater possession than the Seahorses and had shaded a period where both defences came out on top with neither keeper seriously tested.
Yet early doors, Ashington felt aggrieved after believing Glen Taylor had been fouled inside the area by a tackle from last man Tomi Ameobi.
Despite vociferous shouts for a spot kick, play switched to the other end with Dryden called upon to push away a teasing cross from the left by Moore.
Skipper Andrew Johnson came close with a free kick from 20 yards before Paul Chow had a shot from distance deflected.
Then Whitley’s prolific goal scorer wriggled inside the box and saw his shot turned aside by Dryden following good work from Moore and James Novak.
Ten minutes from the interval, James Taylor and David Carson linked well with a swift one-two which ended with the former’s fizzing drive just missing the far post.
Ashington’s next attack was spearheaded by Kyle Oliver and Darren Lough, who combined to set up a heading opportunity for Glen Taylor, whose effort was gobbled up on the line by home stopper Richard Harley.
Glen Taylor placed another effort wide from a Martin Brittain delivery into the box and it was consequently against the run of play when Moore edged the Seahorses ahead in the 44th minute.
Almost immediately, Carson slid the ball past the upright with the final piece of action in what had been a far from eventful first period.
In contrast, the second period saw a cat and mouse type duel.
On one hand, the Colliers pressed hard to work an equaliser whilst the home side looked to add a second on the break.
The impressive Alex Kempster lashed over within a minute of the resumption then a free kick from Brittain flashed across the home area with Craig Scott just failing to connect at the far post.
Another delivery into the box by Brittain saw Ameobi slice the ball narrowly wide of his own goal with Glen Taylor directing a header millimetres off target from the resultant corner on the left.
With 20 minutes remaining a back-pass by Lough saw Dryden’s clearance cannon off Chow and bounce straight back into the keeper’s arms.
Within a minute, a snap shot half volley by Chow flashed wide then from another break, two substitutes – Chris Fawcett and Phil Airey – combined with the latter blasting over right footed.
Ashington were starting to become frustrated and after Carson had gone close, the final opportunity arrived in the 81st minute. Johnson found Glen Taylor with a slide rule pass but just as the Colliers top marksman was about to pull the trigger, he was denied by a superb tackle by Ameobi.
At the final whistle it was all smiles for Chandler, but on the day his side’s victory owed much to a valiant defensive display which repelled everything that Ashington threw at them.
On Saturday Ashington start a run of five consecutive matches at Woodhorn Lane when they host Team Northumbria (3pm).
Ashington: Dryden, Blandford (Norris 61 mins), Lough, Oliver, C Scott, Christensen, J Taylor, Johnson, Carson, G Taylor, Brittain. Subs not used: Briggs, L Scott, Downey, Barnard.