Ashington 0 Whitley Bay 1
A second-half goal from Stephen Ramsey was enough to secure all three points for Whitley in a wind-affected game at Ashington.
After snow and heavy rain had battered the region earlier in the day, great credit was due to the Woodhorn Lane groundstaff for producing a playable pitch on a day when the local non-league programme was decimated.
Playing into the wind in the first half, Whitley started strongly with former Collier Luke Salmon prominent in their attacks down the left but Ashington gradually worked their way into the game, enjoying the larger proportion of possession.
Their best chances of the game came in the 19th minute when Dan Lister pushed a shot wide before producing a vital instinctive save, pushing a close range effort from Brandon Morrison over the bar.
That was about as good as it got for the hosts, as Whitley defended solidly then finished the half on top. A 38th-minute free-kick from Craig McFarlane flew narrowly wide then two minutes later Salmon struck the bar with a shot that had Grant beaten before the rebound was put behind for a corner.
Almost immediately, Ben Sampson raced away downfield for the Colliers but blazed his shot high over the bar but it was Whitley who nearly snatched the lead a minute before half-time when Luke Taylor’s header from a corner was pushed over the bar by Grant.
Two minutes after the restart, Salmon went close but was thwarted by Grant.
Ashington suffered a blow when defender Thomas Lycett suffered an injury and had to be helped from the field.
Whitley eventually took the lead when a Peter Glen-Ravenhill corner was headed home by Stephen Ramsey.
They were in control of the game now and should have doubled their advantage nine minutes later when Ardelean was played through on the edge of the box, but Grant raced off his line and attempted to punch the bouncing ball clear but only succeeded in knocking Ardelean to the ground. A penalty kick was awarded but the experienced Ashington keeper then redeemed himself by saving Dan Wright’s effort from the spot.
The save kept the Colliers in the game and briefly seemed to give them renewed belief but, battling the wind, they struggled to make any real impression.