Ashington FC manager Gary Middleton could not laud enough praise on to Marc Walton after the striker had bagged all four goals in his side’s 4-3 victory over Whitley Bay at Hillheads on Tuesday night.
And Middleton paid the 27-year-old the ultimate compliment by declaring that supporters would only see better finishing by professionals in the Premier League.
Middleton said: “It was Marc Walton who was the difference with his quality, and whatever camp you were in tonight, his goals were worth the admission money alone,” he said.
“I’ve just told him in the dressing room that his finishing tonight was as good as I’ve seen – anything better is in the Premiership.
“I’m not sure how you can defend against Marc when he is on that form - apart from the penalty, which one of the other three do you pick out as being the best of the bunch?
“He was just phenomenal.”
Ashington went out for the second period not only trailing by a 2-0 deficit but also with a tongue lashing from Middleton and his staff ringing in their ears.
“I would like to think that aside from Walton’s quartet, the half-time roasting has changed the game,” he said.
“None of the management team were happy at the interval and quite rightly so.
“I was very disappointed with the first half and obviously the players were told that at half-time.
“We didn’t get close to Whitley Bay and gave them lots of time to get on the ball and pass, and we got out of the half what we deserved really, which was nothing.”
Middleton, who observed a transformation after the break, added: “Second half we started well and got close to people.
“We stopped them from playing and were positive when we got the ball.
“We got people on the ball that wanted it – like our new signing Andy Ferrell.
“He was brave, hungry and passed it and got about the park.
“But credit to all the lads because they have gone out second half and turned it around.”