MARC Walton bagged his eighth goal of the campaign to earn Ashington a well deserved point against West Auckland at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday.
Walton’s timely strike came quarter of an hour from the end of a tremendous tussle which had seen the Colliers fritter away chances yet take a 2-0 lead with the Durham club storming back to lead 3-2 in the second half.
The clash – a dress rehearsal for Saturday’s FA Cup first qualifying round tie – saw plenty of goalmouth action, particularly in a first half bathed in sunshine.
And it was the Colliers who forced the issue right from the start with Louis Store, Craig Scott, Paul Antony and Andrew Dugdale all going close.
The Colliers eventually took the lead when the ball was played to Walton in space and the centre forward let fly with an effort from 20 yards which took a slight deflection off Chris Carr and looped over the advancing Mullin.
Then on the half hour Callum Little added a second.
Taylor’s threaded through ball released Andrew Johnson, who after rounding Mullin saw the keeper block his shot.
However, Johnson kept a cool head, weighed up the situation then rolled the ball back for the in-rushing Little to ram home from six yards.
In the 34th minute, Jamie Poole headed over at the far post after a cross from John Campbell, but seconds later, West reduced the arrears – through Campbell.
Rundle was the provider with a pass through the middle which carved Ashington open with Campbell stroking the ball wide of Dryden.
West keeper Christopher Mullin was called on in the closing minutes of the half to deny Johnson.
The second half saw the Colliers struggle to get out of their own half – or retain possession.
Ten minutes in, Mattie Moffat looked set to level but although his shot beat Dryden, Gareth Williams saved the day by heading off the line.
However, in the 56th minute Campbell squeezed the ball just inside the upright at the near post to equalise.
Then in the 69th minute, West went in front with a top quality goal.
Substitute Stuart Banks crossed from the right for Moffat who nonchanantly clipped the ball over Dryden and into the net from 12 yards.
However, five minutes later, the Colliers equalised through top marksman Walton.
Taylor did exceptionally well to reach the byline and when he pulled the ball back, Walton fired across Mullin and into the far corner with a right footed effort on the turn.
Three minutes later, Johnson had a goal disallowed for offside
For West, Banks was through but with Campbell in acres of space on the left, Banks elected to shoot and was foiled by Dryden.
Ashington: Dryden, Storey (Bainbridge 80 minutes), Cave, Antony, Williams, Scott, Taylor, Dugdale (O’Dea 69 minutes), Walton, Johnson, Little (Dobby 75 minutes). Sub not used: Atkin