ASHINGTON CFC manager Gary Middleton described his side’s 1-0 victory over Guiseley on Saturday a ‘fantastic result’.
They now look forward to a fourth qualifying round tie.
The Colliers boss savoured the moment and found special mention for the three players who have suffered long term injuries in recent weeks.
“It’s a fantastic result for us in the dressing room, for the club and for our three long term injured players, Gareth Bainbridge, Darren Lough and Stephen Young.
“It’s also fantastic that we have attracted a good crowd.
“We have now knocked out two sides from the Conference North in Vauxhall Motors and Guiseley, and both have been massiv as they are three leagues above us in the pyramid system.”
Middleton was delighted that his players had put into practice pre match instructions.
He added: “We had a game plan and we also started well.
“I thought we were by far the better team in the first half and deservedly took the lead – and really should have come in at the interval two-nil up with Andrew Johnson having a shot cleared off the line.
“I was a little disappointed we never got the second.”
At the interval, Middleton warned his side to be ready to pull out all the stops to defend.
“We just told the lads at the break to keep playing the way they had been playing,” he said.
“Yes, Guisley would have spells where they would put us under a lot of pressure, but we had to stick with it.
“We needed to continue to defend well and I thought we did that second half.
“On the other hand, I didn’t think we were as much as a threat going forward second half as we were in the first, but maybe that was because they pushed us back. But I wasn’t overly concerned.
“I thought we looked a bit ragged the last five minutes and in injury time, but right the way through, from Karl Dryden to the substitutes who came on, every player did superb for us in a workmanlike performance.”
Middleton said he knew beforehand that the midfield area was going to be a key factor.
He added: “I spoke to certain managers during the week who told me Guiseley dictate the game with there midfield players and that was where the game was going to be won but we matched them like for like in that department.
“I also thought Andrew Dugdale and Mark O’Dea had smashing games in the midfield, and when we got on the ball, I thought we caused them problems going the other way.”
As for goalscoring hero Jamie Clarke, Middleton said: “Jamie Clarke did what he does best – other players may have froze in that situation.
“He’s ‘Mr Cool’ and knows how to put the ball away, and he’s been a fantastic signing.”