Middleton admits his side were outclassed

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Gary Middleton was honest and forthright in his post match assessment of Ashington’s opening Ebac Northern Leaguer fixture at Spennymoor Town.

The Colliers boss admitted after watching his team slide to a 4-0 defeat that they had been outclassed by the FA Vase holders title favourites.

Middleton said: “I was disappointed with our second half performance – and the lads know themselves that they can do better.

“Spennymoor passed it around for the second goal down our left hand side as we lost our shape and discipline, which resulted in us giving them another two goals.

“In a nutshell, though, we were outclassed in the second period.”

For all he knew the enormity of his side’s task, Middleton had been happy with the way the first period had panned out.

“I thought we did well for the first 44 minutes,” he said.

“We knew it was going to be difficult against a top team like Spennymoor, but we went out with a game plan and it worked.”

Middleton was critical about the way the first goal materialised, which left his outfit deflated.

“I thought we could have defended the whole scenario better for the opening goal,” he said.

“We switched off and we didn’t get out to the ball quickly enough to close them down from a corner and it has resulted in the ball being knocked in.

“No one has picked up Gavin Cogden in a dangerous area in the centre of the goal and he has scored.

“The effort deflated us a bit and we need to manage times of the game better.

“At 0-0 with five minutes to go in the first half, we needed to see it through.”

Middleton also reflected on missed opportunities either side of the interval.

“They were great chances,” he said.

“And when you come to places like this you are not going to get many and have got to take them.”

Middleton revealed that his pre-match plans had been thrown into disarray with defender Craig Scott ruled out with a groin injury.

He added: “The news this morning wasn’t great. Craig Scott, who had hurt his groin in training on Thursday, was not going to be fit and at such a late stage this sent our plans awry.”