Middleton praises impact of Ashington’s new signings

Ashington captain Andrew Johnson is denied an equaliser against Penrith shortly before half-time. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com
Ashington captain Andrew Johnson is denied an equaliser against Penrith shortly before half-time. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com
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Ashington FC manager Gary Middleton was full of praise for his outfit – and in particular new signings Phil Airey and Steven Shaw after both had played significant roles in Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Penrith at Woodhorn Lane.Middleton said: “Conditions played a key role in the game and we knew if we pressed them high up the pitch in the second half we would get opportunities.

“We were a goal behind and ten minutes into the second half when there wasn’t much happening, we made the double substitution of Airey and Shaw, and I thought both lads had a major impact on the game.”

He continued: “Phil was very lively and got the equaliser. He then played a key part in the second goal which proved to be the winner.

“Steven has circulated the ball on the edge of the box and kept it simple finding Phil who has placed a lovely shot which bounced in front of the keeper and Glen Taylor was on hand to knock in the rebound.”

The boss added: “Overall I’m extremely pleased and happy. I thought we had to work hard for a result today, especially because the conditions were difficult and we also gave Penrith something to hang onto with the goal, which obviously we didn’t want to do.

“It was unfortunate because we should have gone 1-0 up just a minute beforehand.

“It was a great opportunity for Glen Taylor who had a long time to think about the chance and his effort has hit the post.

“I didn’t think we dealt particularly well with the goal we conceded – and their keeper has pulled off a couple of great saves.”

Middleton was in no doubt that his side were full value for the three points.

“I thought we played some good football in difficult conditions,” he said.

“The Penrith ‘keeper was having one of those days but I thought the lads deserved the win today.

“They had to work hard and on another day against a different keeper it could have been quite a few more.”

“With no midweek fixture, Middleton now takes his outfit to Carlisle on Saturday to pit their wits against Celtic Nation.

“The frustrating thing to come out of today’s win is that again we have picked up injuries,” he said.

“James Taylor has taken a nasty blow to the mouth and face in an accidental incident which led to the goal we have conceded and has had to come off at half-time.

“Hopefully he should be OK whilst Tony Stephenson has picked up a knock on his ankle and we’ll have to assess the fitness of the two players during the week.”