Harmison delighted with Ashington side’s character

Ashington manager Steve Harmison. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com
Ashington manager Steve Harmison. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com

Ashington FC manager Steve Harmison was delighted after his side had claimed their first victory of the season with a 2-1 result against West Auckland on Tuesday night.

And the Woodhorn Lane boss praised his side’s character after they came from behind.

“It was a good win and the togetherness was there, which in all fairness was evident at the weekend against Shildon,” he said.

“We started with a plan playing one up front to try and stifle Shildon, and it worked for 15 minutes, then all of a sudden a great quality free kick by Lewis Wing undone us.

“Conor Grant got a decent hand on it but could not stop it from 35 yards, which tells you how good a strike it was.

“Tonight we had a good first 45 minutes and had a couple of chances, which has been our downfall in the first couple of games as we have not taken them.

“The lads battled unbelievably well and I don’t really want to single anyone out because they stuck together.

“Even when they went a goal behind, after the two and a half weeks they have had including being down to ten men after 90 seconds against Consett, who showed against South Shields on Saturday what a good side they are, they went to face Shildon, who I think will win the league, and stuck with them for 80-90 per cent of the game.

“Tonight we were looking for this game to be the one to kick start us.

“It’s nice having Ben Harmison up top, he causes a lot of problems and gets us higher up the pitch.

“I thought the young lads did well again. Seventeen-year-old Ben Sampson came on for 20 minutes against Shildon and was impressive, Harrison Scott again did OK in his second appearance for us, and Scott Gunn came on as a substitute because we wanted to give him a little bit of a break after a tough couple of weeks.

“All in all I was really pleased with the effort and performance that the lads gave.

“They were playing against a well organised side in West Auckland, and we let our foot slip again at the start of the second half, but full credit to every one of my players.

“They could easily have put their heads down and gone into hiding and not want the ball.

“But the lads in midfield got possession in wide areas, which was the plan to get balls into the box and with Damien [Stevens] coming on, he made them [West Auckland] go deeper.

“We tried to stretch the play then all of a sudden there is a bit of a gap between Stevens and their defenders and he gets a couple of balls which go straight through the middle of their back four.

“Things had been said in the dressing room, but the players responded perfectly.

“I’m an up and honest man, a dressing room man, not so much a disciplinarian, but there was a reason why everything was played out tonight and it ended in the right way.

“Coming from behind, especially after recent weeks, shows what massive character there is in the camp, and although some players will be returning to the squad, we still need reinforcements.

“We are desperate for our skipper Craig Scott and Ben Christensen to come back, but the game against Nelson in the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup killed us.

“The other two league games were always going to be tough, especially the circumstances surrounding the Consett one. But the lads have answered a lot tonight, for themselves and as a team.”