ASHINGTON CFC defender Darren Lough was a double winner on Saturday.
The ex-Newcastle United Reserves skipper scooped two prestigious awards at the annual ceremony held by the Woodhorn Lane outfit in their clubhouse.
Club chairman Ian Lavery announced the awards with Lough named as the Manager’s Player of the Year as well as the Player’s Player.
He was presented with his trophies by Phil Davison, from sponsors Browell Smith & Co, whose allegiance to the Colliers spans almost ten years.
Ashington born Lough, 21, said afterwards: “Throughout the season there have been a lot of good performances by a lot of players and I knew that a few of them would be in the frame.
“My aim was to play as well as I could every game and I did not really think about the awards – so to get both in my first season with the club is fantastic.”
Manager Gary Middleton said of Lough: “Darren is one of the best signings I have made in the whole of my five-year managerial career.
“The lad’s attitude to the game and his contribution as well as him being a team player have impressed me immensely.
“I also believe there is still a lot more to come from Darren.
“He is just a young lad who is only going to get better.
“He totally deserved the two awards and when as a player you get the accolade from your fellow team-mates, it is the ultimate award because it shows how highly you are thought of by them.”
Goalkeeper Karl Dryden was voted Supporters’ Player of the Year whilst Stephen Young lifted the trophy for the top goalscorer with 31 goals.
Andrew Johnson’s stunning effort in the home match – and 3-1 victory – against Shildon earned him the accolade of Goal of the Season.
Of Dryden, Middleton said: “I’m over the moon for Karl.
“He has had a terrific season and his award is from the people who watch him week in week out.
“We do not give Karl enough praise as an individual. He is in a no win situation whereby as last line of defence he is expected to make saves yet if he drops a clanger he is immediately in the firing line for criticism.”
Reserve side Ashington Colliers had four different selections for various Player of the Year titles.
Goalkeeper Craig Towart got the nod as the manager’s choice; Simon Cunningham as Players’ Player; David Brown junior was voted for by the committee and Anthony Watson took the Young Player of the Year title.
Cunningham also took the award as top goalscorer.
Speaking to those present, Mr Lavery said that the club had made huge progress and that it was a true community club.
“There is still a lot of hard work to do to sustain the club and to move it forward,” he said.
“We want to be as professional as we can and to harness the young players from the junior sides through the ranks to the first team.”
The chairman also praised the sponsors and called for others to come forward and support the club.
He applauded the “great following” and “very vociferous” supporters of the club and the executive board.
Mr Lavery also singled out Peter Moran, Steve Land, Mark Fitton, Brian Shotton and Les Alderson for special mention, adding “There is a lot to look forward to.”