Ashington old boy David Brown returned to face his former club on Saturday with Bedlington Terriers and delivered the knockout punch which clinched his side three precious points in their bid to escape relegation.
Brown’s goal, which arrived in the 13th minute, followed a corner on the right by Paul King.
Liam Davison chipped the ball into the box which fell to Brown after taking a slight deflection off Andrew Leeson and the striker confidently took a touch before firing home past home keeper Karl Dryden.
Derbies are usually high profile material and this latest contest resulted in 3D billing – only of a clearly forgettable nature as it was dreary, dour and hugely disappointing.
Brown’s effort proved to be the decisive moment, and in their current plight and against an Ashington side sitting in fifth place, the deserved victory came against the odds.
Yet whilst Brown took the headlines, Bedlington’s victory owed much to a magnificent defensive display in which central defenders James Harmison and Leeson were rock solid as well as keeper Sean McCafferty outstanding.
A strong downfield wind coupled to a heavy pitch made conditions difficult but the Terriers gnawed through the opening stages as the more adventurous side.
Indeed after only 19 seconds, an attempted clearance by Dryden struck Brown with the potential danger being averted before Davison’s shot was blocked for a corner which led to what proved to be the all important goal.
It took Ashington a full quarter hour to register their first attempt when Kyle Downey’s free kick into the penalty area was headed out to Andrew Johnson but his right foot volley was well off target.
Midway through the period, Brown was presented with another golden opportunity but lashed over, then Bedlington keeper McCafferty was called into action, taking a header from Craig Scott low at the post.
However, it was the visiting stopper who prevented an equaliser on the half hour.
James Taylor pierced the Terriers defence with a searching ball over the top which left Glen Taylor in the clear but Ashington’s top scorer saw his right footed effort well blocked by McCafferty.
The chance came in a ten minutes spell where Glen Taylor was heavily involved, firing two other efforts over the bar and another being gathered by McCafferty.
In stoppage time James Taylor headed wide from a Johnson corner and seven minutes into the second period, the same combination figured in what was to be another major turning point.
Johnson played the ball wide for Taylor but as he bore down on goal and with only McCafferty to beat, the midfielder was foiled with the keeper again saving with his legs.
At the other end, Dryden made a stop from Dylan Williamson in similar fashion then sub Marc Walton schemed Ashington’s next move but after a one-two between Darren Lough and Johnson, the former’s cross shot drifted wide of the far post.
As in the first period, the Colliers had plenty of possession and dominance but were becoming anxious as an audacious effort from Glen Taylor which was way off target testified.
Kyle Oliver found Walton whose volley was pocketed by a grateful McCafferty who then held a low cross by Lough.
In the 89th minute, Johnson wriggled free down the left and must have thought he had set up a leveller as his cross beat the keeper, but Leeson was on hand to clear off the line.
Then in the fourth of six minutes of time added on, Glen Taylor teed up sub James Novak for the final chance but the newcomer blazed over.
On Saturday the Colliers host Marske United (3pm) then travel to face Team Northumbria on Monday, February 17.
Ashington: Dryden, L Scott (Novak 46), McGlen, Oliver, C Scott, J Taylor, Norris (Christensen 46), Downey (Walton 66), Johnson, G Taylor, Lough. Subs not used: Carson, Blandford.
Bedlington Terriers: McCafferty, Dixon, Dobson, Morton, Harmison, Leeson, Williamson (Mogwo 77), Davison (McRoberts 89), Brown (Walton 58), Watson, King. Subs not used: Loughborough, Iredale.
In midweek, first half goals from Darren Lough and Andrew Johnson put Ashington on the road to a terrific 2-0 victory over Celtic Nation and a place in the quarter-finals of the Brooks Mileson Memorial League Cup where they will travel to face Tow Law.