Ashington extended their impressive run to five games unbeaten at Dunston’s UTS Stadium on Saturday when they came away with a 1-1 draw.
Traditionally a tough place to visit, Dunston’s ground over the years had not held many happy memories for the Colliers, but things have turned for the better in recent seasons.
After going a goal behind in the first period, Steve Harmison’s side had to do things the hard way, but with ten minutes remaining they deservedly got back on terms through Wayne Buchanan, and were firmly in the ascendancy when the final whistle was blown.
The Wansbeck side began well and in the seventh minute Shaun Bell set up Ben Harmison but he applied a weak connection and keeper Jack Norton easily held.
Almost immediately the home side broke and a dangerous ball played from the right by Liam Thear went across the face of the Ashington goal.
However, in the 12th minute only the woodwork prevented the Colliers from going ahead. Ben Sampson and Bell combined to set up Harmison whose left foot shot struck the base of the post.
The chance appeared to spur on the home outfit who began to get on top.
Steven Richardson went close with a flying header from a cross by former Collier Michael Tait; Ritchie Slaughter volleyed over then another whipped ball played in by Thear went close.
Ben Christensen headed away from the danger zone and the prominent Thear headed wide with visiting keeper Conor Grant scampering across his goal.
Consequently it came as no surprise when Dunston went in front after 34 minutes.
Thear’s pile driver swerved in the air and was fisted away by Grant but from the rebound, Richardson crossed for Dale Burrell who slotted home.
Ashington hit back in the latter stages of the period. Harmison and Lee McAndrew combined with the latter’s cross being headed narrowly wide by Bell, then Ryan McGorrigan had a shot blocked.
Shortly after half-time, Dunston made a change with Ryan Drane replacing Chris Youldon, and within a minute the sub had a goalbound effort deflected for a corner.
Ashington retaliated with Shaun Henderson finding McAndrew down the right flank and his centre went across goal with only a touch required.
The Colliers introduced Andrew Bulford and when Harmison headed on Craig Scott’s pass, a shot from the ex-Dunston striker was parried away by Norton.
The action continued to flow from end to end and after Drane’s shot hit the post and bounced to safety, McAndrew’s effort struck the hand of a Dunston defender but penalty appeals were turned down by the referee.
Ashington drew level in the 80th minute when Buchanan headed home from a McAndrew corner on the left, and the goal led to a period of incessant pressure from the visitors.
In the 89th minute, Harmison glanced on for Bulford who finished superbly past Norton only for the score to be ruled out as the assistant flagged for offside against sub Kyle Downey.
In the fourth minute of six added on, a Downey free kick was arrowing towards the net until Norton dived to his right to save in excellent fashion, then with only seconds remaining, Sampson went on a foraging run and when he laid the ball off for Harmison, the striker turned neatly but saw his cross blocked.
In midweek, Ashington played out a 1-1 draw with Whitley Bay. The Seahorses took the lead midway through the first period through Callum Patton but Ben Harmison headed the equaliser five minutes before the break.
On Saturday, Ashington are at home to Newton Aycliffe, kick-off 3pm.
Ashington: Grant, Henderson, Christensen, S Bell, Scott, Buchanan, Sampson, Tiffoney (Bulford 54), McGorrigan (Downey 67), B Harmison, McAndrew (Antony 79). Subs not used: R Bell, Salmon.