ASHINGTON crashed to their fourth home defeat of the season at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday with Shildon scoring two second half goals.
It was an entertaining end to end contest throughout and to coin the old cliché – a game of two halves – played in front of a crowd which exceeded the 300 mark.
But just as the Colliers had controlled the first half, so the Railwaymen got up a head of steam after the break to derail their Northumbrian hosts and send them into the buffers to a second successive reverse at the Lane, following hard on the heels of an identical scoreline against neighbours Whitley Bay at the beginning of the month.
Holding onto a precious lead given to them by midfielder turned striker Andrew Johnson, it all began to go wrong for Gary Middleton’s side early in the second period.
Skipper Liam Atkin gave away a needless penalty from which Mark Hudson equalised, then another defensive frailty saw Billy Greulich-Smith head home what proved to be the winner midway through the half.
Shildon defender Ben Christensen had to be alert in the opening minutes as he made a vital headed clearance at the back post to avert the danger after an Ashington move down the left involving Jonny Godsmark, Johnson and Andrew Dobby.
And it was another attack down the same flank which prised open the Durham-based outfit on the quarter hour – which resulted in Johnson netting his 22nd goal of the season.
Andrew Dugdale found Glen Taylor and when he crossed, Johnson, standing unmarked on the six yards box, took a touch before firing home across Keith Finch.
Shildon’s first threat on goal came on the half hour when Chris McCabe lobbed over, and four minutes later it took a brilliant tackle by Jordon Mellish inside the area to halt Craig Hughes when the timing had to be immaculate.
Glen Taylor cut inside to drive wide from the edge of the area and Johnson had the ball in the net only to be flagged offside, whilst at the opposite end, Chris Hughes was halted in his tracks by an interception from Dobby.
However, a key turning point arrived seconds before half-time when Ashington broke quickly after defending a Shildon corner and had a three-on-one situation in their favour.
Atkin led the charge through the middle accompanied by James Taylor and Johnson and when the latter was manhandled in the centre circle by Christensen, referee David McCallum waved play on.
Atkin played the ball wide for Taylor whose right footer missed the far post by a yard – then after awarding a goal kick, Wallsend-based McCallum brandished a yellow card to Christensen.
Three minutes into the second period, Shildon got back on terms – via the penalty spot.
Chris Hunter swung over a cross from the right touchline into the area and Atkin’s nudge on Greulich-Smith saw McCallum point for the award with Mark Hudson duly stepping forward and sending Karl Dryden the wrong way.
Greulich-Smith fired wide before the Colliers survived loud appeals from the Shildon contingent for another spot kick when Sam Garvie went to ground inside the area.
Minutes later the Railwaymen got what proved to be the winner – through Greulich-Smith.
Ashington failed to deal with a long throw-in from the right by Craig Hughes which allowed Greulich-Smith a free run to plant a header from eight yards into the net.
Dryden got a hand to the ball but could not keep it out.
Ashington went in search of an equaliser but the nearest they came was four minutes from time when substitute Marc Walton’s shot was deflected and Carl Jones nipped in to clear with Johnson lurking.
Ashington: Dryden, Mellish, Dobby, Antony, Atkin, Grieve, J Taylor, Dugdale (O’Dea 68 mins), Johnson, G Taylor, Godsmark (Walton 70 mins). Sub not used: Bell.
On Saturday Ashington are away to Team Northumbria (3pm) then the Colliers travel to face Durham City on Tuesday, February 26, for a 7.30pm kick-off.