Whitley Bay suffered their first defeat at Ashington in nine years and their first ever at Woodhorn Lane in what turned out to be a closely contested local derby.
Both sides were below strength, with Whitley missing Callum Anderson, Chris Fawcett and Paul Antony while the Colliers could only name two substitutes.
On a pleasantly warm and sunny afternoon, the home side made the early running and they felt aggrieved when Brad Brooking was not punished for a foul on the edge of the Bay penalty area.
A few minutes later, former Bay midfielder Andy Dugdale incurred the wrath of referee Shane Sugden for a high tackle on Chris Reid and could consider himself fortunate to escape without a caution.
The resultant free kick saw Reid’s header cleared by another ex-Whitley player Glen Taylor.
Andy Robertson, making his first start of the season, then got in a shot on goal before Andrew Johnson sent a long range effort just over the bar at the other end.
Ashington were gifted the lead after 24 minutes when Tom Kindley uncharacteristically hit a clearance too short of Brooking and David Carson seized on the ball before clipping a 30-yard shot over Kindley into the unguarded net.
Five minutes later James Novak made a vital interception from a corner to deny Marc Walton a clear shot on goal.
Whitley then had penalty claims waved away after a close range header from Paul Chow struck the hands of a defender and was deflected behind for a corner.
Six minutes before the interval, Michael Tait’s corner was headed straight into the midriff of Colliers defender Craig Scott on the goal line.
Right on the half-time whistle Whitley suffered a major blow when a second defensive error led to Ashington doubling their lead.
Johnson’s left wing corner was slotted home from just beyond the back post by the unmarked Glen Taylor.
There was still time for Robertson to force a save from Karl Dryden following a throw-in on the right.
Colliers manager Gary Middleton felt that the half had been fairly evenly contested and was delighted to see his side two goals to the good, but from a Whitley point of view, two poor mistakes had cost them dearly.
The second half saw Whitley gradually claw their way back into the game and after Taylor had turned and fired over Kindley’s bar, the Colliers were forced back in defence and when Reid played a quick one-two inside the penalty area he was unceremoniously brought down by Craig Scott at the expense of a penalty which Chow converted to bring Whitley back in the game.
A free kick on the left then saw Leon Ryan head the ball on the roof of the net, but frustratingly, Whitley were lacking creativity in midfield and clear cut chances were few and far between.
Ashington might have sealed victory with six minutes to go but Kindley made up for his earlier error with an excellent diving save to keep out a shot from Sam Norris.
Whitley then pushed forward in a late rally and after Jarrett Rivers had lobbed the ball just over the bar, Craig McFarlane’s excellent cross from the right presented Chow with a gilt edged chance after Ryan had headed the ball on, but from just a few yards out, the Bay captain planted the ball just the wrong side of the post with Dryden a spectator and Whitley’s chance of snatching a point disappeared.
Whitley Bay: Kindley, Brooking, Novak, Reid, Ryan. McFarlane, Tait, Robertson, Davis (Blake 76 mins), Chow, Rivers. Subs not used: Chambers, Ball, Day, B Smith.