Michael Tait came back to haunt former club Ashington by scoring a late winner for Washington at Woodhorn Lane on Tuesday night.
Tait’s low strike in the 90th minute, which sent the home side reeling to a sixth consecutive defeat, was a cruel blow for the Colliers after Damien Stevens had cancelled out a Chris Winn opener for the Mechanics.
Once again Ashington pressed the self destruct button in the early stages as they gifted the visitors the lead in the fourth minute.
Following a corner on the left, the ball was returned to the far post where Winn, six yards out, was allowed a free header to put his side one-up.
On the quarter hour Ben Harmison must have thought he had netted his 11th goal of the campaign when he met a cross from the left by Paul Weldon and directed a goal bound header which was pushed out by keeper Carl Morris, and from the rebound, Andrew Bulford’s shot struck Stevens to roll out for a goal kick.
Washington were showing their pedigree as to why they are a top six outfit, confidently knocking the ball around, and after a swift attack, only an offside flag raised by the assistant denied Joe Walton from increasing the lead.
The opening quarter of the second period saw little in the way of opportunities until a through ball from skipper Mark Davison was almost perfect for Walton but Ashington keeper Conor Grant made a timely intervention.
In the 75th minute, a full blooded drive from 25 yards by Kyle Oliver had goal written all over it until Morris pushed it out, and appeals for a handling offence against a Washington defender from the ensuing rebound were waved away by referee Daniel Woodward.
Three minutes later Colliers manager Steve Harmison made a triple substitution, and within 55 seconds his side drew level with Stevens notching his first goal for the club.
Johnson was the supplier of the through pass which saw Stevens slide the ball under Morris from the junction of the six-yard box.
Three minutes later only the woodwork denied Johnson. The midfielder looked up and unleashed a dipping right foot effort from 30 yards which beat Morris but crashed against the crossbar.
Ashington went all out for the win, and following a Johnson corner, a scooped shot by Stevens was clutched by Morris.
However in the last minute of normal time, substitute James Taylor made a brilliant block tackle to deny Winn, and when the ball was played back into the area, Tait’s effort from 16 yards took a deflection to give Grant no chance.
Ashington: Grant, Christensen, Weldon (Scott 78), Downey (J Taylor 78), J Harmison, Oliver, Stevens, Dunn, Bulford, B Harmison (Bains 78), Johnson. Subs not used: Dixon, Hall.