MARC Walton scored a hat-trick as Ashington went on a goal scoring spree at Woodhorn Lane on Tuesday night against Billingham Town.
Gary Middleton had described the mood of the camp as being gloom and doom following Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat by Guisborough.
But the Colliers boss wore a beaming smile afterwards as he described his side’s second half showing as being one of their best performances of the season.
The 8-1 win also ensured that the Wansbeck outfit completed a quickfire double over the Teessiders, whom they defeated 4-2 at the end of January.
Middleton’s men had squandered numerous chances in the first period but there was still no indication that an avalanche was on its way with the sides locked at 1-1 at the interval.
Andrew Johnson had put the hosts in front in the 11th minute accepting a pass from Walton before driving home from 25 yards past keeper Ryan Hodgson.
However, the visitors drew level only six minutes later when a free kick was flicked back into the danger zone where the unmarked Nicky Martin headed into the corner from three yards wide of keeper Karl Dryden.
Minutes later Glen Taylor had a header cleared off the line by Glen Butterworth.
Then came the procession of squandered opportunities with Taylor, Mark O’Dea, Matty Grieve and Jonny Godsmark all failing to hit the target when well placed.
Ashington started the second half brightly and went ahead in the 50th minute when Paul Antony let fly with a right footer from 25 yards which gave Hodgson no chance.
On the hour, Godsmark fed Antony who played the ball into the area where Johnson headed in for his 25th goal of the campaign.
Then in the 68th minute it was 4-1. Taylor picked out Johnson – who had caused Billingham problems all night – and when he crossed, Antony added his second with a good left footed finish from 12 yards.
Two minutes later, it was five as Johnson rounded Hodgson and when he pulled the ball square, Walton had the simple task of finding the net from close range.
Liam Atkin cleared a header from Daniel Wray off the line before a convincing and ruthless Colliers side took their tally to eight with another three goals in eight minutes.
In the 81st, Johnson’s delivery of a corner to the far post was inch perfect for the incoming Grieve to bullet home a header.
Then barely 60 seconds later, Walton – spotting Hodgson well advanced off his line – tried an audacious effort from inside his own half which drifted narrowly wide.
Substitute Marc Heaman fired off target before goal number seven arrived in the 85th minute.
Johnson latched onto a ball played over the top and although Hodgson blocked his effort, the rebound fell to Walton who applied a stunning finish from 16 yards.
Johnson was then denied what would have been a well deserved hat-trick when his shot was somehow saved by Hodgson’s feet as the keeper moved in the opposite direction before Walton brought the house down with a glorious strike shortly before full-time.
Who else but Johnson claimed the assist as he rolled the ball across for the striker whose right footed finish from 20 yards was top drawer and brought him his 28th goal of the season.
Ashington: Dryden, Grieve, Dobby, Antony (Moscrop 85 mins), Atkin (Slaughter 81 mins), Scott, Godsmark (Heaman 77 mins), O’Dea, Walton, G Taylor, Johnson. Sub not used: Barnard.