A goal from substitute Lee Scott resulted in Ashington picking up a creditable and deserved draw against Scottish Third Division side Berwick Rangers in front of a healthy crowd of 270 on Sunday afternoon.
The only disappointing feature was that the Colliers should have won the pre-season friendly at a sun-drenched Woodhorn Lane.
On this occasion the well worn cliché of paying the penalty certainly applied to Gary Middleton’s team, who, trailing to a Darren Lavery strike for ‘The Wee Gers’, blew two opportunities to equalise inside as many minutes with Glen Taylor and Paul Watson both failing to score from the spot.
Throw into the mix that David Palmer and Andrew Johnson struck the woodwork – the latter in the closing stages – and it is easy to see why the Wansbeck side were left frustrated at the final whistle.
Johnson went close for Ashington in the early stages but Berwick had the ball in the net just after the quarter hour mark when Dean Carse scored after Karl Dryden had parried an effort from Steven Notman, but the effort was disallowed for offside.
Scott Dalziel went close, then a through ball by Lee Currie found Carse who was foiled by Dryden.
Shortly before the interval, Johnson met a cross from David Palmer but headed wide, and 40 seconds into the second half it was Johnson who crossed where Glen Taylor’s shot was blocked.
Carse advanced and his sizzling effort drifted just wide of Dryden’s left hand upright, then Taylor set up David Carson, whose right foot drive was pushed away by keeper Paul Grant.
Josh Morris had a shot deflected wide before the Shielfield Park outfit edged in front in the 55th minute.
Striker Lavery latched onto a through pass and from inside the area gave Dryden no chance, driving across the keeper and into the far corner.
Ashington’s response was positive – and instantaneous – with Grant pushing a shot from Palmer onto the post, and the same Ashington player failing to hit the target by millimetres after again being set up by Carson.
However, the Colliers were presented with two marvellous opportunities to level inside a two-minute spell when they were awarded two penalties by referee Peter Osgood.
The first came just after the hour mark when Johnson’s cross was handled but Glen Taylor blazed his effort over the bar.
Incredibly, a mere 87 seconds later, substitute Dean Briggs was upended by Steven Tulloch but Watson’s right footer was turned away by Grant.
Johnson blasted over before the Colliers got back on terms in the 71st minute – through Scott.
Briggs again caused problems with his skill and pace as he weaved his way into the box and pulled the ball back.
Glen Taylor’s shot was blocked but when the ball broke, Scott found the far corner.
Johnson went agonisingly close and Scott was denied with a volley, whilst at the other end, Tulloch missed a heading opportunity from a Currie free kick and Lavery’s goal bound effort was finger tipped over by substitute keeper Craig Towart.
However, three minutes from time, Johnson had a chance to win the contest for the Colliers but looked on as his shot struck the post and rebounded to safety.
Ashington: Dryden, McGlen, C Scott, J Taylor, Atkin, Grieve, Palmer, Laws, Carson, G Taylor, Johnson. Subs: Watson, Briggs, L Scott, Bell, Downey, Towart, Bernard.
On Saturday Ashington are at home to Coldstream (3pm) before they host Birtley on Thursday, July 18, where kick-off is 7pm.