Second half goals from Colin McMenamin and Micky Rae gave Ebac Northern League Leaders Celtic Nation a 2-0 victory over Ashington at Gillford Park on Tuesday night.
The Colliers – who had already recorded a league and a cup win against the Carlisle-based outfit at Woodhorn Lane – gave a gallant performance in defeat with skipper Andrew Johnson being denied before half-time whilst Kyle Oliver hit the woodwork in the second period.
The visitors started the brighter side in a high tempo first period and early in the contest Glen Taylor, James Novak and Johnson were involved in a move which saw the latter’s cross blocked then after good work by David Carson, the youngster was also snuffed out.
James Patterson had Nation’s first effort from 20 yards which went over the bar, but again the Colliers looked the more enterprising side.
Glen Taylor had a header at the far post blocked before the home side ought to have got their noses in front midway through but Peter Murphy headed over when well placed following a free kick by William Gibson.
James Taylor had a shot deflected with the ball spinning into the arms of keeper Aaran Taylor, then in almost similar circumstances, a cross by Rae struck Lee Scott but Karl Dryden recovered after going one way then being forced to move in the opposite direction.
Rae tested the palms of Dryden with Lee Scott clearing the ball to safety, then McMenamin produced a neat turn but his attempted chip was easily held by Dryden.
The action continued right until the half-time whistle.
In the 44th minute, Dryden foiled McMenamin, saving with his legs, and Murphy’s follow-up was kept out.
Whilst at the other end, a 25-yard free kick from Johnson was goal bound until Taylor turned it over in fine style.
Nation put the Colliers on the back foot five minutes into the second half as they opened the scoring – at the third attempt.
Rae charged through the middle and when his shot was well blocked by Dryden, Gibson had an opportunity from the follow-up but was again denied by the Ashington defence. However, the ball ran free to McMenamin who coolly stroked the ball just inside the far corner.
Five minutes later, Ashington had strong claims for a penalty denied after a cross into the area by Lance McGlen appeared to be handled.
But in the 67th minute, the home side doubled their advantage.
The ball was played into Rae from the left and the striker curled a superb right footer wide of Dryden and into the far corner of the net.
Johnson hacked an effort from McMenamin off the line before Ashington were left frustrated in the 78th minute when Oliver’s header from a Novak free kick smacked against the upright and was cleared.
Ashington: Dryden, L Scott (Norris 72), McGlen (Downey 84), Oliver, C Scott, Christensen, Carson (Briggs 81), J Taylor, Johnson, G Taylor, Novak.