Ashington aiming on finishing in top six of Ebac Northern League first division

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

Midfielder Shaun Bell still has his eyes firmly fixed on Ashington finishing the season in the top six of the Ebac Northern League first division.

Gateshead-born Bell, who joined the Colliers from neighbours Morpeth Town at the beginning of September was named the man of the match as Steve Harmison’s side wrapped up a 2-0 victory over Washington on Saturday.

And the 34 year old process operator is delighted with the way things are panning out: “I’ve settled in well and have felt at home right from the off,” he said,

“The management team and backroom staff have been very welcoming. It also makes life easier when there are a couple of players in the squad who I played with at Morpeth but overall they are an excellent bunch of lads and there are some good footballers in the group too.”

Bell was delighted with the display from the entire team which included his own performance: “Everything clicked for myself with things going exactly as I wanted,” he added,

“The lads around me all played well and I thought we took the game by the scruff of the neck from the first minute.

“We started well and it set the tone for the rest of the game and made it easier for the rest of us as a team.

“The early goal in the second half gave us something of a cushion and gave us a bit more confidence to grow into the game.”

Leam Lane-based Bell is looking for Ashington to drive on: “We have gone into a couple of games with the expectation of winning them which has let us down a little bit,” he said,

“Other than that, we have been tremendous so far and I can still see us finishing in the top six. We knew it was going to be a hard game from the start at Washington but we didn’t take things for granted and you could see the lads were well up for it.” Meanwhile, Ashington manager Steve Harmison hailed his players after the win.

Heavy rain both before and during the encounter coupled to a biting cold wind made conditions extremely difficult.

However the Woodhorn Lane boss thought his outfit coped with the elements better: “It was a fantastic win,” he said afterwards standing in the warmth of the complex,

“The team performance was brilliant in conditions which were brutal - but I thought we deserved to win for the simple fact that we handled the conditions better than Washington.

“We moved the ball quickly on a pitch was cutting up and getting heavier and heavier as the game wore on and I thought every single one of my players - including the two subs who came on - did the job which was needed by a team to get three points.”

He continued: “Forget formations. My lads have tried to play in areas with passing and nice football.

“We picked the second ball up very well and the three lads in the middle of the park were excellent.”

Harmison added that his lads had been a credit to the club: “Before kick off you are thinking about it going to be a battle of will, character and desire and who wants to win a game of football,” he said,

“We have produced a performance which was needed for the situation – trying to play in our opponents third.

“It was cold and conditions were horrible but the lads conducted themselves brilliantly and were a credit to Ashington FC.

“The back four plus sub James Harmison were first class and when your defensive unit play as well as they have done and you have a goalkeeper in Conor Grant who more often than not helps you win football matches, it’s nice to have a game where Conor wasn’t required as much today.”

Ashington are in mid table and Harmison added: “We have got games in hand on other teams in and around us and we have just got to keep ticking the boxes and see what happens.

“We move forward to two very tough games at Woodhorn Lane against Marske United (Tuesday November 8) and Bishop Auckland (Saturday November 12) before the League Cup tie against Ryhope CW (November 15) but we will go into them on the back of a couple of wins.”