Ashington end barren run of eight consecutive defeats
Ashington's barren run without a win came to an end on Saturday when they accounted for West Allotment Celtic at Woodhorn Lane.
However, 3-0 up and seemingly coasting to victory short of the hour mark with spectacular goals from James Taylor and Andrew Bulford, they made things difficult for themselves.
Ben Bradley reduced the arrears before an even more significant turning point 15 minutes from time when home keeper Conor Grant saved a penalty from Sean McRoberts.
Within six minutes the points were sealed when James Harmison nodded in a fourth which ended a run of eight consecutive defeats.
Playing conditions were perfect as both sides probed early doors.
A well worked short corner by Jake Trodd found Andrew Johnson on the edge of the box but his shot was charged down, whilst at the other end, ex-Collier Stephen Young headed wide from a left wing cross.
Chances were at a premium before a great pass from Johnson found Damien Stevens down the right, but when he cut the ball back, Bulford’s effort was weak and easily held by keeper Daniel Mullen.
Taylor made a vital block to snuff out a threat from Bradley then Young teed himself up but directed a 20-yard volley narrowly over the bar.
The final ball was letting Ashington down, but after Mullen had fisted out from Johnson, they got a fortuitous break in the final minute of the half.
And it was Lee Scott – recalled to the starting line-up – who took full advantage to open the scoring.
Following a cross from the right, Scott’s header hit a defender and when the ball ricocheted back to the striker, he made no mistake, firing into the top corner of the net.
The Colliers turned the screw from the first whistle of the second half and moved into a three-goal lead with Taylor and Bulford both staking a claim for any goal of the season award.
Three minutes after the adjournment, the ever impressive Trodd played a superb ball inside the full back for Scott and when he pulled it back from the left, Taylor, running onto it and without having to break stride, struck a superlative right footer from 25 yards which screamed into the top corner.
Scott then netted only to be flagged offside, but in the 57th minute, Ashington were ecstatic again after Bulford shrugged off the attentions of a defender and from the same distance, left Mullen grasping thin air with a half volley which rocketed into the net.
However, two minutes later, Bradley silenced the home supporters when he headed in at the far post from a right wing corner.
Stevens supplied Scott whose shot was tipped away by Mullen then substitute Kyle Oliver crossed for Bulford whose effort was deflected over by another ex-Collier, Dean Deagle.
On 75 minutes a low drive from McRoberts was handled in the area by Michael Dixon and referee Barry Gordon pointed to the spot. McRoberts stepped up but his weakly struck kick was gratefully held by Grant diving to his left.
Ashington sewed the game up ten minutes from time with a fourth.
James Harmison narrowly missed his connection from a telling Oliver cross but when Bulford was also allowed the opportunity to swing the ball over from the right, Harmison headed in at the far post.
Just before the end of normal time, Johnson went down in the area but the referee turned down shouts for a penalty.
On Friday, March 18, Ashington are away to Bishop Auckland then on Tuesday, March 22, the Colliers host Newton Aycliffe.
Ashington: Grant, Christensen, Trodd, Taylor (Oliver 69), J Harmison, Bell, Stevens, Dixon, Bulford (Weldon 83), Scott (Downey 69), Johnson. Subs not used: B Harmison, Dunn.