ASHINGTON are still looking to record their first win at Woodhorn Lane since late October after suffering their fifth home league defeat of the season against Guisborough Town on Saturday.
An own goal in the closing minutes from skipper Liam Atkin gave the Priorymen victory in what was a disappointing game.
The result also completed a season’s double for the Teessiders over the Colliers.
But the game will be quickly erased from the memories of the 148 spectators.
It was a hard fought battle but one which lacked quality football.
After an uninspiring first period, the match finally came to life early in the second half when Glen Taylor gave the Wansbeck side the lead, scoring his eighth goal since joining the club from Spennymoor.
Having gone in front for the third game in a row at the Lane, Ashington were unhinged in the final quarter when Lee Bythway equalised from the penalty spot before Atkin’s blemish.
The result was a blow to the club’s aspirations of a top six finish, and especially after bagging a 3-2 win over Durham City at New Ferens Park in midweek.
The visitors, who wrapped up a single goal victory against the Colliers at the end of September, should have gone in front in the sixth minute.
After a throw-in on the left by Liam O’Sullivan, the ball reached Michael Roberts at the far post and his goalbound effort was somehow kept out by Karl Dryden.
Ashington went even closer in the 11th minute following a throw-out by Dryden to Andrew Johnson.
He advanced before finding Marc Walton whose shot was deflected for a corner, and from the flag kick by Johnson, Mark O’Dea’s shot from close range hit the bar.
On the quarter hour, Dryden took a cross from O’Sullivan then dived at the feet of Roberts, but overall, supporters were starved of excitement.
O’Dea’s ball over the top put Johnson clear down the right but when he pulled it back, there was no one up in support.
Glen Taylor glanced well wide then Paul Antony found Johnson whose dangerous looking cross was cleared by Craig Bishop.
Two minutes into the second period, Atkin blocked a goalbound shot from Adam Gell before the deadlock was broken in the 50th minute.
Antony’s pass from the left went through to Glen Taylor who advanced then beat keeper Daniel Dixon with a powerfully struck right footer from 16 yards.
Great play down the right flank by O’Dea saw him beat two defenders but when he crossed, Walton’s glanced header drifted wide.
However, a major turning point arrived in the 65th minute.
Andrew Dobby floated over a free kick from the left which was headed on by Glen Taylor only for Walton to screw wide from six yards.
Three minutes later, it was all square as the Priorymen levelled from the spot.
As Dryden and Craig Scott zoomed in to clear, Roberts got through and was clipped by the keeper inside the area.
Referee Shane Sugden consulted with his assistant then pointed for a penalty which was confidently swept home left footed by Bythway.
Glen Taylor fired over then an Antony piledriver was blocked for a corner from which Matty Grieve headed over.
Two minutes from the end of normal time, Guisborough got their noses in front with a helping hand from home skipper Atkin.
The ball was played down the right flank and when Lewis Wood crossed into the middle, Atkin beat his own keeper with a diving header which went into the roof of the net.
Roberts could have added a third in the second minute of time added on but stroked wide – with Ashington unable to string anything together before the final whistle.
Ashington: Dryden, Grieve, Dobby, Antony, Atkin, Scott, Johnson, J Taylor (Dugdale 37 mins), Walton, G Taylor, O’Dea (Godsmark 85 mins). Subs not used: Heaman, Barnard.
On Saturday, Ashington are away to Newton Aycliffe, then Gary Middleton’s side travel to face Hebburn Town on Tuesday, March 12.
In midweek, Andrew Johnson put the Colliers ahead on the artificial surface at Durham City but the Citizens levelled in the 76th minute with a flying header from Paul Dixon.
Two late goals inside a minute from Glen Taylor and substitute Marc Walton then put Ashington into a 3-1 lead before Oliver Hotchkiss blasting home from the spot after a Grieve foul on Dixon.
Meanwhile Josh Gray has joined Durham City whilst Jordan Mellish has returned to Blyth Spartans.