Glen Taylor picked up an early Christmas present and struck his 22nd goal of the season to clinch his side victory as they narrowly edged out Penrith at a windswept Woodhorn Lane on Saturday.
Taylor’s opportunist moment arrived with 20 minutes left on the clock as he hooked the ball into the net from close range after Cumbrians keeper Josh Richardson had spilled an effort from Marc Walton.
It put the Colliers ahead for a second time in the contest – but in truth the final whistle could not come quick enough as Penrith pushed Gary Middleton’s side all of the way and even squandered a chance in the dying seconds.
The Colliers had the near gale force wind on their backs during the opening period yet it was Penrith who had the first opportunity with William Paul’s shot being cleared from the danger zone by Lee Scott.
The Colliers had penalty shouts turned aside when Glen Taylor went to ground then a low free kick from 20 yards by Kyle Downey flashed wide.
Play was scrappy but on the half hour a three-man move almost unlocked the door.
Keeper Karl Dryden found David Carson on the right flank from a free kick and when the winger swung over a deep and inviting cross, the in-rushing Glen Taylor met it perfectly but headed a great chance wide.
Ryan Hall and Jake Smith combined in a move for the visitors which saw the latter blocked by Lee Scott before six minutes from the break, the sheer brilliance of Dryden kept the score line blank.
A cross from the right found Smith whose piledriver had goal written all over it until Dryden dived full length to his left to push the ball away to safety.
When play switched, a miscue by Carson caught Richardson unawares and hit the bar before Walton made no mistake as he registered his 17th goal of the campaign.
Carson had been prominent in raids down the right flank and when he crossed into the penalty area, Glen Taylor laid the ball off for Walton who finished in great style with a low left foot shot on the turn and into the bottom corner of the net.
However, the Cumbrians drew level in the 58th minute with a sensational strike from Richard Faustino. He got possession and from fully 25 yards unleashed a right foot power drive which flew like an arrow past a startled Dryden and into the roof of the net.
Carson dragged a shot wide following a one-two with Glen Taylor – then the striker claimed what proved to be the winner in the 70th minute after Lee Scott had won a tackle on the right touchline.
Ashington, well served by James Taylor and Ben Christensen, were forced to defend well – Darren Lough performing particularly well in one Penrith raid – as the visitors continued to press in what was a nail biting finale.
Ashington desperately needed a third goal, which was further endorsed in the last minute of normal time as a back header from Niall Cowperthwaite drifted wide then a cross from Paul just eluded the head of Steven Rigg.
Even home physiotherapist Leanne Symonds, on her way back to the dugout around the outside of the pitch after having administered treatment to Carson, was forced to work overtime as Glen Taylor then required attention before the final whistle, following five added minutes brought welcome relief for the home side.
Ashington: Dryden, L Scott, Lough, Oliver, J Taylor, Christensen, Carson, Johnson, Walton, G Taylor, Downey. Subs: Norris, Barnard.
On Saturday Ashington are away to Newton Aycliffe at 3pm.
In midweek, Ashington turned in one of their best performances of the season as they served up some scintillating football at the Lane in a comfortable 3-0 victory over Newcastle Benfield.
Craig Scott headed home in the tenth minute to give the Wansbeck side the lead with Kyle Downey scoring a classic second shortly after the interval with a volley from 20 yards before David Carson added the third three minutes from time.