Ashington boss Harmison delighted with team’s character after win at Aycliffe

Ashington manager Steve Harmison. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com
Ashington manager Steve Harmison. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com
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Ashington FC manager Steve Harmison praised his players after their 2-1 victory over Newton Aycliffe on Tuesday night.

And the boss highlighted the final 20 minutes of the game as the most pleasing factor.

At that stage his side were 2-0 head and playing against ten men. But the home side threw everything at the Colliers in a bid to recover the deficit.

He said: “It was an excellent win, but for me the most pleasing aspect was the last 20 minutes.

“We looked at sixes and sevens and they threw everything forward, but a couple of weeks ago we would have lost that game.

“We said last week we’ve got to regroup and stick together, and that final 20 minutes was another massive tick in the box.

“From the outside it looked as if we were getting dragged everywhere, but at the end we have won the game 2-1 and for me that showed character.

“The lads were excellent and the work rate was first class.

“Without singling anyone out, the back four were very good and we have come face to face against a good side who are fourth top of the league and we’ve done the right things.

“Aycliffe came out of the traps and played well at the start but we stifled them and managed to see that through, showing resilience.

“They had a couple of chances which probably in recent weeks would have gone in against us, and like on Saturday against West Allotment Celtic, we got the rub of the green and bounce of the ball.

“We also got the opening goal – and we are a good side when we get in front.”

He added: “Every single one of my players showed that we have to go forward.

“They want to work hard for each other with a desire to win matches for Ashington FC, and any side who can go to Aycliffe and get three points will reflect on a very good win.

“I’m really pleased for the players.”

After spectacular goals from James Taylor and Andrew Bulford against Allotment, Andrew Johnson made it the perfect hat-trick.

“Even though James Taylor’s effort on Saturday was a great strike – an individual piece of brilliance – it was a team goal as well,” said Harmison.

“Tonight, we’ve strung four or five lovely passes together culminating in a good finish by Andrew, which was not only an excellent team goal but was also the icing on the cake.”

Harmison complimented referee Dean Chapman on his handling of the game, which included a red card for Aycliffe’s Stuart Banks.

He said: “Kyle [Downey] was lucky that his legs were in the air otherwise he could have had a serious injury.

“But the tackle was a one-off in a game which I thought the referee handled very well.”

He concluded: “All in all, we have to keep building. We are scoring goals and not conceding as many as we have been.

“We are restricting our mistakes and thereby not putting pressure on ourselves and we are growing into games.”