The realistic dream of a trip to Wembley in the final of the FA Vase remains on Ashington’s bucket list for another year after the Colliers crashed out of the competition on Saturday.
Goals from Joe Kerridge and Luke Page secured Ebac Northern League second division Easington Colliery a place in the next round.
The Wansbeck side, who triumphed 2-1 at the same stage of the competition against ‘The Colliery’ last season, controlled the first period even though they trailed at the break.
Ashington frittered away several good opportunities and were further frustrated by an outstanding performance from home keeper Kyle Donaldson, who denied Luke Salmon, Kyle Downey and substitute David Dormand.
A strong wind made conditions difficult but the visitors nevertheless made a bright and positive start as they took the game to their hosts.
Yet despite their early dominance it was the ninth minute before they carved out the first opening. Ben Sampson cut across from the right and found Downey who drove wide of Donaldson’s left hand post.
On the quarter hour, Lee McAndrew weaved inside his marker and when he pulled the ball back, Ben Harmison’s left footed volley was held by the home stopper.
Sixty seconds later, and against the run of play, Kerridge netted with a header following a right wing cross, but the score was disallowed for offside.
However, Ashington lost possession from the resultant restart and Kerridge made them pay as he advanced then rifled across Conor Grant and high into the net from inside the area.
Downey had two efforts saved by the keeper, who also collected a Harmison header before a shot from Peter Jones was taken by Grant.
Sampson, Downey and Harmison were all involved in Ashington’s next opening only for McAndrew to blaze over, then Harmison slipped the ball through for Scott Gunn, but his shot towards the near post was gathered by Donaldson.
Without question the keeper distinguished himself in stoppage time. Sampson’s shot was deflected behind for a corner and from it, Salmon hit a low left footed screamer from 35 yards which was goalbound until Donaldson somehow the ball around at the foot of the post.
Five minutes into the second period, the home keeper thwarted Downey then when play switched to the other end, a sizzling effort from Jones dipped narrowly over.
Grant palmed away a 35-yard free kick from Kerridge while Ashington’s frustrating afternoon continued as substitute David Dormand was one on one with Donaldson but saw his effort blocked by the keeper.
In the final minute of the 90, Easington booked their place in the next round. Substitute Jack Pounder slipped the ball across for Page who side footed past Grant.
Match referee Lewis Game may have inadvertently achieved an historic feat during the clash. The Stockton-based whistler blew to award the first free kick of the game for a foul with exactly half an hour gone on the clock.
On Saturday, October 1, Ashington are at home to West Allotment Celtic (3pm).
Ashington: Grant, Henderson, Salmon, S Bell, R Bell (J Harmison 87), Buchanan, Sampson, Downey (Antony 68), Gunn (Dormand 60), B Harmison, McAndrew. Subs not used: Christensen, Dunn.