Middleton blames ill discipline at set-piece for defeat

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Ashington FC manager Gary Middleton cited a piece of ill discipline as the reason why his side ended a run of three consecutive victories with a 2-1 defeat at the hands of West Auckland at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday.

A pensive Middleton said: “I didn’t think there was an awful lot in the game, but I’ve mentioned to the players in the dressing room that a bit of ill discipline has led to what proved to be the winning goal.

“Every player has got a job to do at a set-piece and someone has just switched off and failed to pick Robert Briggs up.

“You cannot afford to do that against the best teams and it has cost us a point.”

The boss was pleased his side edged in front but was disappointed they could not maintain high levels of energy.

“I thought West Auckland were a very good team who passed and moved the ball really well,” he added.

“They caused us problems in general play but didn’t hurt us too much.

“Our goal was a good finish by Dean Critchlow but we needed to play that high energy pressing for more minutes of the game than we did.

“There was a spell in the first half where we played for about 20 minutes and caused them a few problems by pinching it in the middle third, but it was a killer blow to concede the equaliser right on half-time.

“We got caught out once which led to the second goal, other than that I thought we were disciplined – which you need to be against West Auckland.

“I didn’t think we caused them a lot of problems as we just looked a little bit short going forward.”

Middleton was disappointed his side were not awarded a spot kick in the latter stages.

He said: “I thought it was a penalty when Kyle Oliver was pulled down, but we didn’t get it and there is nothing you can do about it.”