Ashington chalked up their first league victory of the season thanks to Andrew Johnson who bagged a first half brace against Durham City at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday.
And what a successful few days it has been for the Colliers skipper whose performances have been like a house on fire.
He claimed two assists and scored a late winner in Ashington’s tremendous midweek win over Albion Sports in their FA Cup replay then capped it off by sinking the Citizens with a double, his second goal being top drawer material.
But on the day, there was much more to admire about Steve Harmison’s side who served up their best display of the campaign and looked a threat every time they ventured forward. Harmison handed full debuts to new signings, Mechack Kanda from Gateshead and Paul Weldon from Darlington whilst a shin injury ruled Dylan Williamson out of the reckoning.
The game kicked off in brilliant sunshine on a humid day and after only 90 seconds, Chris Moore fired the ball across the face of goal then in the next minute, James Fairley found Jake Fowler whose shot was held by home ‘keeper Conor Grant.
Michael Bell volleyed wide from a Johnson cross then a poor sliced kick by Grant presented Fairley with a golden opportunity but he stroked the ball wide.
Conner Okus played a slick one-two before he was blocked by Grant – but in the ninth minute, Ashington took the lead with new front man Kanda involved.
His shot was blocked but the ball broke to the right flank to Bell and when he delivered a measured cross, Johnson headed in from three yards.
On 20 minutes, the Wansbeck side put together their best move involving Paul Dunn, Kanda and Weldon and when the latter crossed, Johnson applied a weak connection which failed to trouble ‘keeper Thomas Flynn.
Weldon put a centre across the face then Liam Atkin got in a crucial block to thwart Craig Lynch.
Scott Blandford curled wide before a piece of pure genius from Johnson in the 39th minute led to the Colliers second.
He picked up a pass from Atkin down the left flank and was quickly on the move, waltzing inside unchecked before unleashing a right footer from 23 yards which left Flynn helpless.
Two minutes later, Ashington had a great chance to add a third.
New boys Kanda and Weldon linked well down the left, the latter whipping the ball across the six yards box and when Bell retrieved to centre from the right, Johnson was pinned down by Callum Munro.
Referee Graeme Hopper pointed to the spot but Moore drove the penalty wide of Flynn’s right hand post. Durham tried to make an impact in the second half and after 39 seconds, Grant fisted the ball down from a Callum Patton effort.
Lynch shot across goal then on the hour, a power drive by Fairley from 30 yards, clipped the outside of the post.
Midway through the period, Johnson released Kanda in the inside right channel but the striker chipped just over the advancing Flynn from 25 yards.
It was an effort which drew warm applause from the Woodhorn Lane fans who responded in similar fashion in the 81st minute with Flynn earning the plaudits after recovering well to keep out a goalbound effort from substitute Jonathyn Quinn.
Meanwhile, Andrew Johnson’s 89th minute winner in midweek over Albion Sports has set up a home tie for the Colliers in the preliminary round of the FA Cup this Saturday.
Dylan Williamson had given the Wansbeck side an early lead but Marcus Edwards equalised on 20 minutes. Shortly before the hour mark, Michael Bell headed Ashington back in front but six minutes from time Aran Basi levelled the scores with a sweet and sensational left foot strike from 20 yards. With extra time looming, Johnson, after receiving from sub Jonathyn Quinn, cut inside before firing a right foot stunner from 25 yards across ‘keeper Jack Bentley and inside the far post for a glorious winner.
Ashington: Grant, Christensen, Weldon, Dunn, Atkin, Grieve, Moore, Blandford, Kanda, Bell (Downey 72 minutes), Johnson (Quinn 80 minutes). Subs not used: Race, Harmison, Robson.
Attendance: 270. Referee: Graeme Hopper