Ashington moved out of the Durham Northumberland Division 2 relegation zone with a hard fought 17-16 win against fellow strugglers Wallsend.
The visitors started strongly and, despite the home side dominating the scrums, Wallsend had territorial advantage and Ashington had to defend for long periods of the first half.
On several occasions great cover tackles from Ryan Dodds kept Ashington in the game.
A lineout steal from veteran Duncan Henderson also prevented a certain score but could not stop Wallsend’s first try after a period of sustained pressure.
Ashington responded well with good runs from Johnson and Cory Whitworth. From an attacking ruck in the Wallsend 22, Andrew Elliot, who had an excellent game, ghosted through for a try he converted to give Ash a 7-5 lead after 35 minutes.
On the stroke of half-time Ashington tried to run the ball out of defence and conceded a needless penalty which enabled Wallsend to take a one point lead into the break.
Both sides kicked early second half penalties to give Wallsend an 11-10 lead before the visitors deservedly extended their lead with an unconverted try from a rolling maul, after a period of sustained pressure.
Fourteen-man Ashington fought back strongly with good runs from Dodds, Rutherford, Dickinson, Nichol and Johnson to set up an attacking five-metre scrum. They then broke blind and replacement winger Josh Weeks dived over in the corner for a great try. Elliot stuck a magnificent touchline conversion to give Ash a 17-16 lead.
Ash then played themselves into trouble when penalised trying to run the ball out of defence, giving Wallsend the chance to win the game with a nail biting final kick of the match, only for it to go wide, much to the relief of the home players and support.
In a good day for the club, Ashington seconds won 27-0 against North Shields seconds.
Ashington’s next league game is at Blyth on January 9.