Ashington suffered FA Cup heartache on Saturday as Scarborough Athletic snatched a replay after Jimmy Beadle scored a penalty in the third minute of stoppage time.
It was a bitter pill to swallow for a Colliers who had led twice with a brace from striker Glen Taylor in what was a pulsating second half.
Carlisle-based referee Scott Taylor pointed to the spot after a pile driver from Beadle had been handled in the area by substitute Shaun Gibson and Beadle drove home the resultant kick.
Home keeper Chris Bannon got a good hand to it but was beaten by the power and could only palm it into the roof of the net.
A crowd just shy of the 500 mark created a good noisy atmosphere as they supported their respective sides from either end of the south stand, and it looked as if the Colliers were going to go through and net the £3,000 prize money into the bargain until the late drama unfolded.
The start was busy and hectic and Gary Middleton’s side – whose confidence returned during a 3-1 midweek victory over Billingham Synthonia – could so easily have been holding a two-goal advantage in the opening ten minutes.
Visiting keeper Jason White had already been called on to intervene after a slick one-two between Kyle Downey and Kyle Oliver before he foiled Glen Taylor.
Marc Walton latched onto a through ball and after turning a defender, laid the ball side ways for Taylor whose attempted chip shot was blocked.
However, in the tenth minute, White brought rich and deserved applause after a stunning save. Lewis Davison floated the ball in from the left and Walton’s header was goal bound until White flung himself to his left and clawed the ball, which had gone behind him, away.
In the 19th minute, the Seadogs created their first chance when James Bennett volleyed over from the edge of the box after a cross by Gary Bradshaw.
Then Bannon held a drive from Beadle before Bradshaw curled an effort over.
Walton similarly struck a rising shot over then set up by Oliver, the Ashington centre forward skied another chance before the break.
Ashington made a terrific start to the second period as they broke the deadlock after 72 seconds.
Richie Slaughter’s vision saw him find Glen Taylor on the left with a measured pass and Taylor did the rest, advancing before stroking the ball wide of White and into the bottom corner from just inside the box.
Then only the thickness of the bar denied Walton. Lance McGlen’s forward pass found Walton who cut inside but saw his right footer cannon to safety after smacking against the woodwork.
There was plenty of ebb and flow to the cup tie and when play switched immediately to the other end, a scuffed shot from Bradshaw hit the post.
However, on 53 minutes, slack defending by the home side resulted in Scarborough drawing level.
Ashington failed to pick up Beadle from a corner floated in by Bennett, allowing the centre back a free header which he duly powered into the net from close range.
Ashington’s riposte saw a throw-in by McGlen find the head of Glen Taylor whose effort thudded against the bar.
But midway through a frantic period, it was Taylor who put his side back in front.
Ashington moved the ball across the park from left to right which was started by Ben Christensen but it was a clever piece of play by Oliver which saw him slip his marker to advance to the byline and when he crossed low, Taylor steered the ball home.
Downey fired over from 22 yards before Scarborough threw everything at the home side, who had to defend stoically.
Skipper James Taylor made a trademark block; Bradshaw hit the side netting before the same player thought he had levelled but was ruled offside.
It was nerve jangling fare and when Ben Huddleton headed over a Bennett free kick in the last minute of normal time, Ashington must have thought they were through.
But there were a further six minutes of time added on and when Beadle let fly, the ball struck the hand of Gibson. After a split second pause, what appeared to be a harsh penalty decision was given; Beadle netted and consequently levelled the game for Scarborough – with the replay taking place at Bridlington’s Queensway ground on Tuesday.
Ashington: Bannon, Christensen, Novak (McGlen 46), Slaughter, Flynn, J Taylor, Oliver, Downey, Walton (Gibson 85), G Taylor, Davison. Subs not used: Egen, Lumsden, Barnard.
In midweek, Ashington registered their first league win of the season with a 3-1 victory over Billingham Synthonia.
The Colliers’ goals came from Marc Walton (2) and Glen Taylor whilst Nathan Porritt netted for the Teessiders, who had three players – Daniel Dillon, Kristopher Hughes and Matthew Osmond - red carded in the second period by Denton Burn-based referee Mick McDonough.
On Saturday Ashington are at home to Consett, then on Tuesday, September 23, the Colliers make the short journey along the coast to face Whitley Bay at Hillheads for 7.30pm kick-off.