Harmison calls on his Ashington side to ‘stick together’

Ashington defender Matty Grieve. Picture by Ian Appleby
Ashington defender Matty Grieve. Picture by Ian Appleby

Ashington FC manager Steve Harmison has called on his players to ‘stick together’ following their sixth successive defeat.

A late goal from ex-Collier Michael Tait gave Washington all three points in a 2-1 win at Woodhorn Lane on Tuesday night.

Harmison said: “It’s becoming harder and difficult, but whatever formula we find and whatever way we look to take the next step, the most important thing is we make sure we stick together.

“The situation is affecting everyone – this is five league defeats in a row as well as the loss against North Shields in the Northumberland Senior Cup, and that is very concerning, especially with the fixtures we have got coming up.

“Hopefully the size of the task in the games we have got coming up will spur us on and make sure that the challenge is there.

“I thought we were a little bit better for longer than at West Auckland, and I thought we got a bit of a reaction from people who didn’t quite perform last Saturday, which was good, but we were against a team who are in the top six in the league and who have games in hand and who will challenge at the top end.

“They were a typical Northern League side, big strong men who got about us, picked the second ball up and had a bit of quality.

“But for all that we shouldn’t have lost the game.”

Harmison was disappointed that Washington’s early opener scored by Chris Winn was allowed to stand.

“I thought we should have had a free kick for a foul on our keeper Conor Grant,” he said.

“When I spoke to our defenders and to Conor, they thought that too.

“At the interval, we were in the game and we changed things up a little bit, but it just typifies where we are as a team at this time.

“When we equalised we had a lot of offensive players on the pitch, which we could not change, and I take a little bit of responsibility for that.

“We probably could have drafted them in and gone a bit more defensive and be happy to take what we had, hoping that we could nick another goal later on.

“But with that many out of position, you’ve just got to roll and let them get on with it, and it came back to bite us at the end.

“It was a good block [by James Taylor] right at the very end but unfortunately it has fallen to one of their players who has knocked the ball in, which sums us up.

“We seem to be doing not too badly and we think we are going to kick on, then all of a sudden we get done again.”

Looking ahead, Harmison has billed Saturday’s clash against Bedlington at Welfare Park as a test of character for his players.

“We have got the derby on Saturday and it’s a test of character for people, because if the players cannot get themselves ready and fired up for that match then they will not be at our club for much longer,” he said.

“It’s a tough one, I tried to change things tonight and introduced three subs when we were losing 1-0.

“We may have to look to alter again because that’s five league games without a win, and because of that, none of the players can say they deserve to play.

“It’s also disappointing that we may have lost defender Matty Grieve for a few weeks with a groin injury.

“Andrew Bulford and Weldon are struggling with injuries and Michael Dixon didn’t feature tonight, so the world is against us at this moment in time.

“But we have to stick together and look to bounce back on Saturday.”