Ashington turned in an outstanding performance and deservedly claimed all the spoils from a highly charged first derby match of the season against neighbours Bedlington Terriers at Welfare Park on Bank Holiday Monday.
Two first half goals from Glen Taylor and one from Marc Walton after the break sealed what was a comfortable and convincing win for the Colliers, who could and should have scored more.
But for the Terriers, who suffered their first league defeat of the campaign at the hands of Guisborough on Saturday, the day degenerated even further when they had central defender James Harmison sent off with ten minutes to go following an off the ball incident.
Yet early in the game, which included a couple of crunching tackles inside the opening 60 seconds, a no quarter asked or gained encounter appeared to be on the cards.
The Colliers settled well and the opening shot ame in the fourth minute from Kyle Oliver, which was easily held by keeper Sean McCafferty.
Then Oliver – moved forward to a midfield role with Craig Scott returning to the defence after injury – released Glen Taylor down the left and the striker got to the by line but his attempted cross was superbly blocked at the near post by Harmison.
Similarly, it required a great tackle by Ashington skipper Liam Atkin to halt the busy Dylan Williamson inside the area before the striker had an effort cleared from the danger zone by Lance McGlen.
Ashington’s wingers Sam Norris and Andrew Johnson were threatening down the flanks with their skill and pace and after the latter had fired wide, the Colliers took the lead in the 20th minute.
Oliver schemed the move before releasing Glen Taylor and the forward advanced into the area before unleashing a left footer which clipped the post and rippled the net, giving McCafferty no chance.
Still there was little to separate the sides with both defences resolute, which resulted in long range efforts for either side, with a Norris strike fizzing over and Williamson setting up Phil Cave who fired a cleanly struck shot narrowly off target.
However, Ashington got a pre-interval boost when Glen Taylor got his second in the 39th minute, which put the Colliers into a commanding position.
James Taylor’s pass was hooked on by Glen Taylor to Andrew Johnson on the left flank and when he crossed to the far post, Glen Taylor sent a powerful header past McCafferty.
Then with 55 seconds of the half left, Walton ought to have made it three.
Glen Taylor was again involved, finding Oliver down the right, and the midfielder did exceptionally well to cut in from the touchline and along the byline before putting the ball on a plate for Walton but the striker scuffed his shot which rolled straight into McCafferty’s grateful arms.
Right on half-time, Dryden held an effort from Williamson, but four minutes after the break, another opportunity went begging for the Colliers.
McCafferty spilled a cross from the left by Johnson but Walton missed out allowing the home keeper to smother.
Midway through the half Ashington moved into 3-0 lead with a terrific team goal scored by Walton.
A low cross from Craig Scott had been cleared from the danger area but when James Taylor found Glen Taylor with an astute pass down the right, the forward crossed low for Walton who rifled into the roof of the net.
Effectively the game was all over, however, Terriers’ woes were compounded further as Harmison saw red then in the final minutes.
Glen Taylor then hit the side-netting whilst Johnson played a deft one-two with Carson but over ran the ball after rounding McCafferty.
Bedlington Terriers: McCafferty, Dixon, Cave, Leason, Harmison, Mellish, McRoberts (Waite 78 minutes), Morton (Brown 70 mins), Williamson, Loughborough (Doninger 64 mins), Brittain. Subs not used: Foster-Vigors, Donoghue.
Ashington: Dryden, McGlen, C Scott, Oliver (Briggs 86 mins), Atkin, Grieve, Norris (Laws 78 mins), J Taylor, Walton (Carson 72 mins), G Taylor, Johnson. Subs not used: L Scott, Bell.