Stockton Town, last season’s Buildbase FA Vase losing finalists, dumped Ashington out of the competition on their artificial surface at the Coverall Stadium on Saturday.
The result brought the curtain down on an unbelievably sour 10-day period for the Colliers, where they had exited the Techflow Marine Northumberland Senior Cup; the Brooks Mileson Memorial League Cup and now the Vase.
Two goals down inside the opening eight minutes, the gap widened even further with a third for the home side on 26.
Although Steve Bowey’s side made a fist of it, with Glenn Caygill reducing the deficit shortly after half-time, a brilliant effort from Nathan Mulligan put the tie to bed for the Teesiders with a quarter-of-an-hour remaining.
Stockton made a cracking start with a goal of genuine quality after only 80 seconds from Fred Woodhouse, who exchanged a one-two with Peter Bulmer then let fly with a stunning left-footer from 22 yards.
Ashington’s riposte saw Chris Youldon’s effort repelled by home keeper Liam Jordan who claimed Jack Butler’s header from the rebound before the Anchors – kicking into the teeth of a strong wind – doubled their lead. Chris Stockton’s ball from the left went across the face of goal where Michael Roberts lashed in on the volley.
Ten minutes later, skipper David Edwards stroked a corner by Shaun Vipond wide but a ruthless Stockton side added a third with Roberts glancing a header inside the far post from a ball played in from the right.
Caygill gave the Colliers renewed hope on the hour, heading superbly home from a McAndrew corner. However, in the 74th minute, an extra special strike by Mulligan left Ashington’s dreams of a comeback in tatters. He hit a majestic right-foot screamer from 25 yards which crashed inside the near post.