ASHINGTON manager Gary Middleton, having seen his outfit stretch their run to one defeat in ten matches with a 3-1 victory over Sunderland RCA at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday, has vowed that his players will not let their season just peter out.
The Colliers boss is demanding his side win as many points as possible in the remaining fixtures.
He said: “The way the league is with teams having games in hand, it’s difficult to set a target and we will be taking one game at a time, but there is no way I will have a team that are simply playing the season out – I will not have that.
“We have a good run where, Spennymoor and Celtic Nation aside, we are playing teams that are scrapping for their lives.
“Our expectations are always high and we have got a great opportunity in front of us to finish as high up the table as possible.
“We are playing with a lot of confidence and we’ve got a bit of consistency, and will be trying to get three points every game because that’s what we strive for at this club.”
Reflecting on Saturday’s victory over RCA, Middleton said: “I thought we started off very well and went a goal to the good very early.
“It was a great corner from Andrew Johnson and a terrific header from Matty Grieve – a centre half who is in a great run of goal scoring form, which is good to see.
“But to be fair, we have been crying out to do this all season because we’ve put good quality deliveries into the box yet we haven’t scored a lot of goals from set pieces.
“We’ve got some big players in the team and they should be scoring, and over the last couple of weeks, it has been really encouraging.”
But Middleton was disappointed that his side failed to capitalise on the situation after being two-nil up inside the first 12 minutes.
“I thought we were bossing all areas of the game and really on top,” he added.
“We went two-nil up with a great run and finish by Mark O’Dea, but I was disappointed with the last 25 minutes because I thought we took our foot off the pedal.
“RCA were there for the taking and we should have had the game put to bed by half-time, but we were a bit lethargic and a bit sloppy in our play in all areas, and we had some good chances to score.
“Yes, it was a hard week playing four games in seven days, but there was an opportunity for the lads in the first half to make things easy for themselves.”
Gary Shaw reduced the leeway five minutes after the resumption, and Middleton added: “We told the lads at half-time that the next goal was important – and we’ve conceded.
“Again I thought we were sloppy because the situation could have been cleared and we could have got closer to the lad who has actually netted.
“Then Paul Antony has scored for us with a great finish and I think it was a comfortable 3-1 result in the end.
“The side have collected nine points in four days and ten points from four games, and I cannot complain at that whatsoever.”