Ashington advanced to the next round of the FA Vase, but only after an explosive encounter with Worksop Parramore at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday.
The Northern Counties East Premier Division side were caught up in traffic en route to Wansbeck then found themselves in a jam of a different sort as they not only exited the competition but also ended the clash with only nine men after skipper James Cotterill and Gareth Griffiths had been red carded.
There was little to choose between the two sides in the opening stages with Sam Smith and Lee Whittington firing off target from distance before Ashington carved out their first opening on the quarter hour.
A simple long ball from Craig Scott completely bisected the visitors defence and allowed Glen Taylor the opportunity to home in on goal with a one-on-one chance only for his low shot to be blocked by keeper Steve Hernander.
However, in the 20th minute – seconds after Marc Walton had netted only to see the goal ruled out for offside – the home side forged ahead with skipper Andrew Johnson claiming his 16th goal of the season.
Kyle Oliver was the provider of a superb ball which sent Johnson in the clear, and after advancing the midfielder drove hard and wide of Hernander.
Seconds later Whittington stroked wide, then the same player directed an effort on target which saw Craig Scott head the ball off the line.
The first flashpoint came in the 33rd minute when James Taylor tried in vain to reach the ball as Cotterill attempted to usher it over the byline.
What followed was an off the ball incident which was spotted by the assistant and after a consultation with referee Chris Ellis, the match official brandished a red card to the visitors skipper then booked Sam Smith.
He also called both skippers and managers together before play resumed.
Five minutes before the break, Johnson had a marvellous opportunity to double his side’s lead when again he found himself through only to be foiled by Hernander.
Early in the second period, Scott Blandford cleared off the line from Whittington before Ashington got a precious second in the 51st minute from James Taylor.
Griffiths was yellow carded for sending Glen Taylor sprawling and when Johnson floated the resultant free kick to the far post, James Taylor was on hand to blast home into the roof of the net with a right footed volley.
Ashington tried to put the game beyond their Nottinghamshire-based visitors with Darren Lough supplying Johnson who rounded Hernander but was denied by the retrieving Nathan Forbes-Swindells.
The stopper kept out an effort from Glen Taylor with his chest before sub Ryan McGorrigan got the better of a defender but lashed over.
In the 72nd minute, Worksop went down to nine men.
Glen Taylor was penalised for a foul and when Griffiths reacted, both players were shown a yellow card with the visiting player, having already been booked earlier, seeing red.
Unbelievably, within three minutes, the nine reduced the deficit.
Sub Jack Poulton, who had only been on the field a matter of minutes, crossed low from the left for Smith who turned the ball home inside the near post.
But sighs of relief reverberated around the ground in the 81st minute as Oliver restored Ashington’s two-goal cushion.
Lough rolled the ball square for Oliver who, with an option to play it out wide, unleashed a low right footer from 20 yards which flew past Hernander and into the bottom corner.
Johnson had a chance to make it four but fired wide, then in the 90th minute, just to add to an afternoon of high drama, sub David Carson was sent tumbling by Hernander with the referee pointing to the spot. But Glen Taylor’s low struck penalty was saved by the keeper.
Ashington: Dryden, L. Scott, Blandford, Oliver, C Scott, Christensen, J Taylor (Carson 77 mins), Johnson, Walton (McGorrigan 69 mins), G Taylor, Lough (Downey 87 mins). Subs not used: Norris, Barnard.
On Saturday, Ashington are away to Durham City then host Ebac Northern League second division outfit Thornaby on Tuesday, November 26, at Woodhorn Lane in the second round of the League Cup.
In midweek, the Colliers completed a 3-0 league victory over local neighbours Morpeth Town at Craik Park.
Glen Taylor netted from the rebound in the eighth minute after Marc Walton’s penalty had smacked against the base of the post, and it was Taylor who added the second five minutes after the break with a right foot drive.
Midway through the period, Morpeth’s David Hiftle clipped Walton just as the striker was about to shoot, which resulted in the home defender being red carded and Walton scoring Ashington’s third from the resultant spot kick.