Middleton hopes cup success is only the start

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Holding the Northumberland Senior Cup aloft and wearing a broad smile, Ashington manager Gary Middleton hopes his side’s success in collecting their first trophy under his leadership will be the start of more silverware to come for the Woodhorn Lane-based outfit.

Newcastle United’s St James’ Park provided the perfect setting last Wednesday when goals from Andrew Johnson, Mark O’Dea and Marc Walton brought Ashington a deserved Senior Cup success – the first time they have won the competition for 33 years.

Middleton said: “It’s becoming more and more difficult every year but I’m very much hoping that having bagged the Northumberland Senior Cup that this will be the start of more to come.”

And the boss hopes his outfit have finally laid the ghost of seasons past.

“Over the past couple of years in the FA Vase there was always a question mark when it mattered most in the big games,” he added.

“Although we had asked for big performances we never got over the line as such – but we got that on Wednesday at St James’ Park.

“Now, hopefully following the Senior Cup success, it’s something which we would like to emulate and go and kick on – and you would like to think that with the players having tasted success that it will make them even more hungry.

“That’s what we are all hoping for, to use it as a springboard.

“In the four years since I have been manager, things have gone up and up and we have improved, and although at this stage I don’t know exactly where we are going to finish in the first division table, whether it be sixth seventh or eight, the league is very tough.

“But we now have the first bit of silverware under our belts, which makes it so much nicer.

“You are in it to win it, you want to be successful, and you are itching to do well every season.

“People only remember the winners of competitions, and following last week’s success, the Northumberland Senior Cup will hopefully be the first for us – with many more to come.”