Ashington boss puzzled by players’ reaction to latest win

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 watched his side rack up their fourth consecutive win – and fifth from their last six matches – with a 3-1 verdict over Norton & Stockton Ancients on Wednesday night.

However the boss admitted to being left puzzled by the reaction of his players.

He said: “It was weird because at half-time the players came in frustrated and at the end of the game they have also come in a little bit disappointed, and I’m not too sure if I’m pleased with that reaction or not.

“We have been playing some good football, but the barren patch where we went eight games without a win has probably cost us a top six place.

“The lads are on a high and that typifies my group of players, because when they are really good they are untouchable, and then when things aren’t going so well, they maybe take the emotion in too much.”

He continued: “For the first 15 minutes I thought we were just a little bit flat.

“The pitch looked lovely from the sidelines but it was actually bobbly and was better in the second half when the evening dew allowed the ball to skip across the turf.

“The players have won 3-1 and the game is about a result, and they have got to realise that the only thing which has let them down was the final ball.

“The decision making didn’t let them down – it was the execution.

“We made the right pass but we didn’t execute it very well. The ball got blocked and Norton got the rub of the green.”

Harmison was also left bemused by a Norton side who played well on the night.

“I’m baffled as to how they have been relegated because I thought they played some lovely football in what was a very good game,” he said.

“I thought we worked hard and we just had to be patient, and in the end we should be happy with a 3-1 win away from home.”

The Colliers have now lost striker Ben Harmison for the remainder of the season.

“I hate singling anyone out, but I thought Ben was outstanding,” he said.

“Ben came into the team with such gusto and has only played 25 senior football matches in his whole career because of his time to cricket.

“I didn’t see him play against Consett and on another couple of occasions, but I thought when we needed him to hold the ball up tonight, he did an excellent job for us.

“We now lose him to cricket and suspension, and he is going to be a big hole to fill.

“Damien Stevens did a lot of good things tonight and he’s disappointed because he missed a couple of chances whilst Matty Grieve could have scored four tonight.

“We have a young group of players who have got to learn to understand when the game is going your way to make hay while the sun shines, and when it’s not going your way got to consolidate, be solid then go again, and I think they did that and should be happy with the win.

“We have five tough games left, but our confidence is very high and we have got to believe that we can go into them with a great chance of getting three points.”