Ashington boss gets start he wanted with new stand opening

Ashington FC manager Steve Harmison.
Ashington FC manager Steve Harmison.

Ashington FC manager Steve Harmison revealed after his side’s 3-1 win over Jarrow Roofing on Saturday that the game plan playing in front of the new 250-seat stand had been ‘to start the way we mean to go on’.

The boss, who saw his outfit extend their unbeaten run to nine matches, said: “I thought the lads played really well.

“The pitch had cut up after Thursday night’s clash against Newcastle United but I thought we played some lovely football.

“We have got a 6ft 5ins centre forward in Ben Harmison but we kept the ball on the bottom.

“In what was the first official league game since the unveiling of the new stand, we talked beforehand of how we wanted to start the way we mean to go on so it worked out well for us.

“In the middle of the park, the five – Michael Dixon, Ollie Hotchkiss, Andrew Johnson, Kyle Downey and Chris Moore – used the ball very well.”

Harmison said that it was a gamble to slot Josh Gray in at full back.

“Gareth Williams unfortunately had to pull out so it was one of those situations where we had a dilemma,” he said.

“Josh hadn’t played for a while because of his operation and we didn’t know how long he could give us.

“He had ten minutes against Dronfield which then turned into 40 with extra time, and he doesn’t train with us because he’s up in Scotland all week, only coming back at weekends.

“Consequently, it was a gamble to play him, but a good one to take and I thought he had a really good game at left back, which is not a natural position for him nor is it a role he really loves to play.”

He continued: “First and foremost, I thought we deserved to win the game but again we have missed a couple of chances and could have been three-nil up.

“First half we got a bit anxious in the final third and shot when we should have passed and passed when we should have shot, but we said at half-time that we had to hit Jarrow hard at the start of the second half, which we did.

“We got the second goal through Andrew Johnson at the right time then Ben [Harmison] has got the third.

“We deserved it and if anything we maybe switched off and our keeper Ben Dudzinski has made two great saves.

“For the Jarrow goal, he’s done really well but didn’t get helped out by his team-mates in the box and that was the only blemish on what was an excellent day for the first league game in front of the new stand.

“After Newton Aycliffe on Tuesday, we face a difficult game against North Shields in the FA Vase on Saturday, but it’s a game we can’t wait for.”