Two goals in the final quarter hour by Guisborough strikers Thibault Charmey and Matthew Pennal sent Ashington crashing to their fourth league defeat of the season at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday.
It was cruel luck on a home side who, after being out passed in the first half by a slick and fluent Guisborough outfit, certainly had the better of the exchanges after the interval.
However, following a first half opener for the Priorymen from Paul Blake, Ashington were left to reflect on a key decision which did not go in their favour as being a massive turning point.
Only three minutes after Kyle Downey had levelled for Steve Harmison’s outfit from a penalty, striker Andrew Bulford was sent tumbling in the area but another spot kick was not awarded.
And just to rub salt into the wound, Guisborough regained the lead shortly afterwards.
The Teessiders are renowned for being a pure footballing side – and they had the perfect opportunity to edge ahead after only 70 seconds.
Gary Wood sprayed the ball out left to Joe Ferguson who was through but saw his left foot shot from the junction of the six-yard box superbly blocked by keeper Conor Grant.
In the fourth minute, ex-Town striker Damien Stevens set up Scott Gunn whose deflected effort was tipped away by keeper Michael Thackeray, with Scott Blandford missing the target from Downey’s corner on the right.
Back came Guisborough with Charmey squandering two chances before an intelligent pass from Blandford set up Stevens who rolled a defender but saw his shot deflected behind.
Neat approach work by Ashington led to Bulford turning a defender only to fire weakly at Thackeray, then Guisborough swept into a 35th minute lead.
Grant made a great diving parry to his right to deny Pennal but the ball broke to Blake who stabbed in the rebound.
Early in the second period, Bulford and James Harmison both directed headed efforts over the bar from crosses by Shaun Henderson, then Charmey curled narrowly wide after a raid down the left.
Gunn had a shot blocked and when play switched, Pennal fired past Grant with Luke Salmon clearing off the line.
In the 70th minute, McAndrew was sent sprawling in the area by Steven Roberts and after Gateshead-based referee Adam Herczeg had pointed to the spot, Downey stepped up to send Thackeray the wrong way.
After Ashington shouts for another spot kick were denied, Boro regained the lead in the 75th minute.
Ferguson delivered a superb ball into the area from the left for Charmey who bulleted a header past Grant into the roof of the net.
Stevens was thwarted by a defender’s block and Blandford directed a header straight at Thackeray before the visitors sealed the game with a third goal in the 83rd minute.
They broke downfield and Pennal slotted the ball wide of the advancing Grant from 16 yards.
On Saturday the Colliers meet Ryhope CW at Woodhorn Lane (3pm).
Ashington: Grant, Henderson, Salmon, Blandford (Farrell 88), J Harmison, Christensen, Gunn, Downey (Sampson 88), Stevens, Bulford, McAndrew. Subs not used: Buchanan, Dunn, C Scott.