ONE league victory aside at the turn of the millennium, Ashington’s playing record against Penrith did not make for particularly good reading – until the Cumbrians moved to a new home at Frenchfields three years ago.
Now the Colliers boast an unbeaten run stretching four games, which includes three draws in the league matches coupled to a league cup semi-final victory two seasons ago when a last gasp goal from Paul Dunn gave Gary Middleton’s side a slender 1-0 win.
And following Saturday’s 2-2 draw, along with Jarrow Roofing’s defeat at Bedlington, the Colliers will surely make the journey again next term after Penrith just about clinched survival in the top flight and will now only face the relegation trap door if they were to concede an avalanche of goals in their final two games.
They got off to a flier with a goal after only 58 seconds which rocked their Northumbrian visitors.
After taking a pass from midfield, Adam Gill motored down the right flank and when he crossed into the danger zone, Ben Jackson nodded home from six yards.
The pressure continued and on the quarter hour, the Cumbrians almost doubled their advantage.
Gill and Jackson were at the hub of the move and when the latter found skipper Steven Ainsworth, his left footer clipped the bar and went over.
Colliers finally settled and in five remarkable minutes, reversed the lead.
Firstly, a precision ball from Tommy English presented Gareth Bainbridge with a glorious opening but his lob over the advancing James Holland drifted narrowly over.
Then out of the blue, a cross by Paul Buzzeo was handled inside the area by Martin Strong with Sunderland-based referee Warren Broadbent immediately pointing to the spot.
Marc Walton stepped up and duly sent Holland the wrong way with a powerfully struck penalty.
Two minutes on and Craig Scott, pictured, netted his second goal in consecutive matches.
A free kick from English was blocked at the far post but the ball broke free to Scott who lashed it home on the half volley with his left foot.
Cue another major turning point in the 35th minute when Walton found English and his slide rule pass into the channel for Godsmark saw the striker’s cross-shot hit the side netting.
Barely 50 seconds later, Penrith drew level.
Gill again supplied a cross from the right where Allison clipped a right footed effort from five yards which crept inside the post.
Ashington’s riposte was immediate. Walton crossed but Bainbridge scooped the ball over, then a deep cross from the right touchline by skipper Liam Atkin saw a header by Bainbridge go the wrong side of the post.
After the break, Allison had two bites at the cherry before driving wide, a Willie Paul thunderbolt went close, an Ainsworth 18 yarder fizzed across goal then a weak back-pass from the otherwise impregnable Scott gave substitute Daniel Jones a great one-on-one opportunity until Dryden came to the rescue with a splendid save to his right.
However six minutes from time, James Taylor played the ball into the box where Walton smartly rolled his marker to turn and unleash a stinging drive which smacked against the bar.
On Saturday, Ashington complete the season with a home match against championships hopefuls West Auckland.
Kick-off is 3pm, and during the game a bucket collection will take place for the Mya Simpson Fund, the four-year-old from Barnston, North Seaton, who was diagnosed with infantile Parkinson’s disease and who suffers from severe abnormalities.
Ashington: Dryden, Grieve, Buzzeo (Cunningham 52 mins), Dugdale (Young 77 mins), Atkin (Moscrop 66 mins), Scott, Bainbridge, Taylor, Walton, Godsmark, English.
On Wednesday Ashington went down 2-1 to Spennymoor at the Brewery Field in atrocious conditions.
The Colliers looked comfortable against one of the sides hoping to lift the title until three minutes before half-time when Paul Buzzeo, in attempting to chest the ball back to keeper Karl Dryden following a cross form the left by Craig Ruddy, saw his effort squirm past the stopper and creep inside the corner of the net.
On the hour, Dryden blocked from Daniel Moore but Ruddy drilled home the rebound despite Ashington having two players on the line as well as Dryden.
Four minutes from time, Craig Scott halved the deficit, heading in a free kick by Tommy English.