Two first half goals from Crook Town’s leading scorer Kyle Davis condemned Ashington to their sixth away league defeat of the season on Saturday.
Having already unleashed a wonder strike which gave his side the lead, Davis pounced to head home a regulation goal on the half hour mark and then came within inches of completing his hat-trick before the interval.
It was a first half which the Colliers will quickly want to put behind them – yet they could so easily have edged in front after a mere 80 seconds.
A move down the left involving Andrew Johnson, David Carson and Glen Taylor saw a cross from the latter headed goalwards by Sam Norris, but his effort was blocked and cleared.
Crook’s first threat came when a low dangerous cross from Richard Hodgson saw Craig Scott deflect the ball behind for a corner with a home striker ready to pounce.
However, in the 17th minute, the Black and Ambers broke the deadlock with a great strike from Davis – but credit went to referee Rebecca Welch. The match official was poised to blow for a free kick but applied the advantage and when a through ball found Davis, he let fly with a left footer from 18 yards which somehow found the top corner through the narrowest of gaps between keeper Karl Dryden and the upright.
It was the last thing the Colliers, who had struggled to piece anything together, wanted.
Ten minutes later, Hodgson and Robbie Bird worked a short corner on the left which saw Alex White get a touch to Bird’s cross but miss the target.
However, Ashington’s situation deteriorated further in the 32nd minute when poor defending cost them dearly with Davis gobbling up his second.
Craig Scott had just returned to the field after receiving treatment for a facial injury when Corey Barnes was given all the time in the world to build on the right and when he floated over a perfect cross, it was meat and drink for Davis who was similarly granted acres of space just inside the six yards box to steer a header inside the bottom corner.
Three minutes later, Ashington must have harboured thoughts of reducing the deficit after Norris had played a one-two with Glen Taylor. Norris was well placed but saw his low right foot shot superbly saved by keeper Barry Poskett moving to his left.
Incredibly, when play switched, Davis ought to have grabbed his third as after a ball from Hodgson, he turned but fired narrowly wide of Dryden’s left hand post.
The Colliers showed more urgency and cohesion from the first whistle of the second period – and they got a lifeline on the hour with a route one goal from skipper Johnson.
Dryden’s long clearance bisected the home defence and with Poskett also committed, Johnson had the simple task of guiding the ball into an empty net.
Ashington then mounted wave after wave of pressure with the home side forced to man the pumps, and as the temperature and the intensity increased, Crook had Chris Renshaw and substitute Christopher Wallace yellow carded within the space of as many minutes.
Glen Taylor missed out with a header from six yards and sub Marc Walton was denied by Poskett before Taylor struck a half volley wide.
When Oliver crossed and Johnson netted only for the goal to be ruled out for offside, perhaps Ashington should have realised that it was not going to be their day.
In the closing stages, Scott Blandford and Glen Taylor combined to set up a chance for Johnson but he lofted the ball over.
Crook had a marvellous clear cut opportunity to make the game safe just prior to five minutes of time added on when Bird pulled the ball back but Hodgson blazed over.
Ashington: Dryden, L Scott, Blandford, J Taylor, C Scott, Christensen, Norris (Briggs 55 mins), Oliver, Johnson, G Taylor, Carson (Walton 67 mins). Subs not used: McGorrigan, Downey, Race.
Ashington travel to Craik Park on Wednesday, November 13, to face derby rivals Morpeth Town in a league clash before turning their attentions to cup action.
On Saturday, November 16, the Colliers host Worksop Parramore in the FA Vase then on Tuesday, November 19, start their defence as holders of the Northumberland Senior Cup when they meet Newcastle Benfield in a quarter-final tie at Woodhorn Lane – unless a replay is required in their Vase tie, which would take precedence.