A familiar story for Ashington boss Harmison with mistakes and misses

Ashington manager Steve Harmison. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com
Ashington manager Steve Harmison. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com

Ashington FC manager Steve Harmison cited missed chances and mistakes as being the catalyst for his side’s 5-2 defeat at the hands of Newcastle Benfield at Sam Smiths Park on Saturday

It is not the first time this season where the Woodhorn Lane boss has mentioned the same two facets of the game as leading to their downfall.

The Colliers’ latest setback not only stretched their unwanted run to six successive defeats but also represented only one win from their last 11 matches.

Although the result suggests otherwise, Harmison’s side were well in the game.

He said: “It’s very difficult to understand what happened during the 90 minutes.

“In the first 45, they have scored from a bit of a nothing free kick – whilst there was nothing in the game apart from us missing chances.

“I thought we were decent first half and for a large part of the game played exactly as we had done against the same opposition on Tuesday night.

“We were well in the game first half and if Kyle Downey had scored with a gilt-edged chance early on, it would have allowed us to control proceedings.

“However, when we got to the final third, we were really poor, not only with our decision making but with our execution, and that wasn’t only from the forwards because there were a few occasions where midfield players and even defenders got in there.

“We went in at the break 1-0 down but with not much in the game, and our goalkeeper Conor [Grant] didn’t have too much to do

“Despite our performance even bettering our first half showing, incredibly two goals in quick succession saw us go 3-0 behind.

“We get a goal then give another one away, and when you are chasing the game you will concede. But you have got to take your chances.

“So far this season we have missed countless opportunities where we get ourselves into positions to score goals but don’t convert them, whilst when other teams have chances they have put the ball into the back of the net.

“This has been the story of our season and it is so frustrating to watch because although we are doing a lot of good things, we are also shooting ourselves in the foot by making mistakes which are happening in all areas of the field.

“There are a lot of big clubs who have been successful in recent times, including Dunston and Whitley Bay, who are in a similar boat to us where they are rebuilding.

“We have got 14 league games left this season and have got to try and be the best we possibly can, but I cannot fault the lads in their pre-match preparation, training and hard work.

“They are a good group together, but for some reason we don’t seem to be scoring goals, which puts pressure on us defensively.”

Harmison handed recent signing Dale Pearson his debut on Saturday, and the boss said: “Dale did a good job in the first half. We played him high, wide and on the left where he has operated before.

“He tracked back and worked hard because the Benfield full back pushed him back. Second half he was more effective when he was more higher and through the middle.

“He is a proven goalscorer and that’s why we brought him in.

“He didn’t get too much of a sniff today, although he made a lovely pass for Downey’s chance which he missed.

“It goes through your mind, ‘this is going to kick start us’, but that is probably our problem where we are snatching at our chances.”

Harmison’s squad now enter a period without midweek fixtures, but he is hoping to play behind-closed-doors friendlies.

“I want us to play, we are trying to arrange two friendlies in the next two midweeks because we have got players like Ben Christensen, Ryan Bell, Craig Scott, Ben Richardson, David Dormand and Andrew Bulford who need match fitness for when the games come thick and fast later on.

“However, it is very difficult for players to come into a side low on confidence.”