Ashington FC manager Steve Harmison said there was little to choose between the two teams after a single goal defeat against Bishop Auckland on Friday night.
A Jeff Smith strike in the second hald secured the three points, and Ashington’s night was complete when strike Andrew Bulford received a straight red card minutes later for a rash challenge.
Harmison said: “We have come to a tough place at Bishop Auckland, just like Newton Aycliffe three days earlier, against a team in form and against a centre forward in the form of his life, but we have kept them to limited chances.
“We didn’t have many opportunities ourselves and there wasn’t much in the game to be honest.”
He continued: “The corner we have turned in the last ten days has been excellent, both in training and playing.
“I have asked a lot from my players over the past two weeks of soul searching, being better, taking responsibility and they have done that.
“But what you cannot control is things outside of your bubble, and I thought the whole thing lost it’s way with a decision just before Ryan Bell’s booking.
“We have come here to make it hard for an opposition who are doing well and playing well, and neither keeper has had much to do.
“It was a good game of football and we said at half-time that a bit of brilliance or a mistake could decide the issue, but it was neither.
“We didn’t get a decision from the referee or his assistant and all of a sudden, all of the hard work goes out of the window.”
On Andrew Bulford’s red card, Harmison said: “The sending off was right. It was a rash moment but one borne out of frustration.”