PHILOSOPHICAL and honest as ever, Ashington CFC manager Gary Middleton acknowledged that Whitley Bay deserved to win Saturday’s local derby at Woodhorn Lane and thereby complete a season’s double after a 2-0 result in August.
However, despite being greatly heartened by a final half hour, a contemplative Middleton reflected on being disappointed by all three goals which his side conceded, as well as a sluggish start to the second half.
The boss said: “At one goal behind at half-time I thought we could get something out of the game, and I was pleased with our performance for the last 30.
“But for all three goals I felt we could have done better.”
Brian Smith and Paul Chow scored in rapid succession at the beginning of the second half – another aspect which left Middleton downcast.
“We had only spoken to the players a few minutes beforehand in the dressing room at half-time asking them to keep things tight,” he said.
“But at the end of the day, you can’t expect to win if you start the second period as sluggishly as we did.
“After going three-nil behind, the players showed character. We pulled one back and although we did not batter their goal, I was pleased with the last half hour
“ Against the best teams in the league you get punished for errors, and this game came at the end of a tough week for us.
“Whitley Bay deserved to win on the day – and I’ve no qualms with the result.”
Seahorses boss Ian Chandler said: “I thought the first half was pretty even.
“We passed the ball quite well and kept it nicely, and apart from one chance, I cannot remember Ashington threatening our goal.
“They lost Jonny Godsmark which was a blow for them and a bonus for us because he’s such a dangerous player, but I thought the first period was as comfortable as we could have hoped for.
“The two goals early in the second half gave us a big cushion, which we needed as Ashington came back really strong and started to do what they are really good at – which is to put balls into the box.
“We sat off a little ... but I was delighted with the result.”
Meanwhile Middleton said he is desperately trying to bolster his pool of players at the club.
“I’ve been trying for the past couple of months to bring new faces in,” he said.
“The squad is wafer thin and we do not have a lot of opinions on the field – but I’m hoping something may happen this week on the transfer front.”
But the boss is resigned to being without the influential Godsmark until after Christmas.
He added: “Jonny has a slight strain to his hamstring and I reckon he’ll be out for a couple of weeks.
“He is a massive threat to any opposition defence and we’ll miss him, that’s for sure.”