Harmison feels it was ‘another hard luck story’ for Ashington against North Shields

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

Ashington FC manager Steve Harmison described his side’s performance in the 3-1 defeat by neighbours North Shields on Saturday as being ‘another hard luck story’.

Two late goals for the visitors earned them a 3-1 win at Woodhorn Lane.

Harmison said: “Yes, we can say that we gave them a game for 80 minutes, but it’s irrelevant because we have lost and it’s another hard luck story where the bounce of the ball, rub of the green, an injury at a bad time or a refereeing decision has not gone our way.

“We keep getting into positions like at 1-1 but cannot see the game out, and that’s the frustrating part of it.

“I thought the lads did really, really well and after 80 minutes I wouldn’t say there was only going to be one winner because it was a game evenly balanced, but I could see us winning the game rather than drawing or losing it.”

Harmison added that at the interval the home dressing room was focused on trying to inflict what would have only been Shields’ third league defeat of the season.

“I thought we showed North Shields too much respect for the opening quarter hour,” he said.

“But at half-time we had no other thought other than to win the game.

“We set up a game plan to combat the wind and the conditions, which worked very well, but the rub of the green didn’t go our way as Ryan Bell had to go off injured and we had to change the formation.

“I thought we should have been awarded a free kick in the build up to the second Shields goal as Craig Scott has been bumped off the ball, but even then, at 2-1 down, we were still in the game.”

Harmison would like the Shieldsmen to go on and win the league title.

He said: “They are a good side. South Shields are going to take some stopping considering the run they are on, but I hope for their manager Jon [McDonald] and Brian [Smith] and North Shields that they do it.”

Harmison is looking for his side to return to winning ways on Friday night when they make the short journey to the Blue Flames Sports Ground at Whitley Park to face West Allotment Celtic.

“Since we lost 5-2 against Newcastle Benfield, we have got some players back,” he said.

“We played very well against Shildon despite losing 1-0 and arguably it was the same in the tussle with North Shields.

“We go to West Allotment Celtic with a few bruised bodies, but fingers crossed if the application and will to win is right then we will have a great chance to bounce back.”

North Shields boss Jon McDonald stressed that results rather than performances are the top priority for his championship chasing side.

“It was a nip and tuck tight contest today,” he said. “I didn’t think it was a good game of football but it was a battle where both teams gave everything.

“For Ashington, Ben Harmison is a real threat, so when the ball goes into him you have got to be big and strong, and I thought our central defender Curtis Coppen was magnificent.

“To be honest, at 1-1, the game ebbed and flowed and could have gone either way, and I didn’t feel it was going to finish as a draw because it was one of those games where both teams were attacking.

“I thought that which ever side got the second goal were going to go on and win.

“I played at Ashington many years ago and it is a difficult place to go too.

“At this stage of the season and where we are at, it’s more about the result than the performance, so I’m delighted to come away with all three points.”

McDonald also gave a special mention to substitute Dan Wilson.

He said: “I thought Dan came on and had an impact on the game. He made the second goal and got the penalty for the third.”