Newton Aycliffe came up just short with a late comeback as Ashington prevailed in a seven-goal thriller in Moore Lane Park’s last game of 2013.
The Royal Blues slipped to just a second home defeat in 13 Division One games this season at home to the title-challenging Colliers on Saturday.
Goals from Glen Taylor, David Carson, Andrew Johnson and Marc Walton saw the visitors leading 4-1 with half-an-hour left.
But Dan Mellanby and Jamie Owen both found the target to set up an exciting finale, with the Newtonians coming close on a couple of occasions to finding a leveller.
The first half did not hint at the carnage that was to come, with Taylor’s sixth-minute strike the only notable event.
But the second period was an end-to-end thriller.
Harrison Davies went for glory when he could have crossed to a colleague in the middle, with his 46-th minute effort grazing the top of the crossbar.
It was to prove costly as Carson lobbed Andrew Spence to double the lead just four minutes later.
However, less than 60 seconds later Aycliffe had pegged the score back. Stephen Gibson’s cross was not dealt with and Dan Wilson was on hand to tap in.
But the goal-rush continued with two more in the next nine minutes, and both were for the Colliers.
First Johnson swept a loose ball past Spence and – after Aycliffe wasted a good chance at the other end with nobody getting on the end of Davies’ cross – Walton headed in number four.
But instead of crumbling, Aycliffe battled bravely in a bid to continue their terrific form at MLP.
First Mellanby – who had replaced Wilson just three minutes earlier – slotted home with 15 minutes left and then Owens finished emphatically after being found by a brilliant pass from Martin Young.
Sensing a leveller, the hosts laid siege to the Ashington goal. The excellent Young found Owens again, but the striker was crowded out in the area as he tried to get a shot away.
Then Mellanby appeared to be fouled in the penalty area but, much to the frustration of the home supporters who had not left early before the fightback started, the referee adjudged the former Darlington man to have taken a dive and promptly showed a yellow card.
Aycliffe should have levelled deep in stoppage time, but James Oliver could not hit the target from close range after going forward for a free-kick.
Ashington, who are now just six points behind Celtic Nation with a game in hand, clung on to claim the points.