Ashington CFC manager Gary Middleton hailed his players after they had deservedly won the Northumberland Senior Cup with a convincing 3-0 victory over Whitley Bay at St James’ Park on Wednesday.
The boss said he was proud of his players after goals from Andrew Johnson, Mark O’Dea and Marc Walton say off the Seahorses’ challenge at the home of Newcastle United.
A beaming Middleton said afterwards: “We’ve waited four years for this moment since I took over as manager.
“The feeling is one of being out of this world because this is the first time the club have won the competition in 33 years – and what a performance.
“From start to finish we bossed the game and didn’t let Whitley Bay into it at all.
“There manager Ian Chandler has come off and said it was the most one-sided final he has seen for a long time. And it was – but it was that because it was testimony to the way my players played.
“We didn’t let them in at all, we worked really hard and pressed the ball and we said we wanted to make things difficult for them which we did.
“And on top of all that, I thought we played some great football going forward.
“I thought everything was terrific – the top two (Marc Walton and Glen Taylor) were fantastic, linking up with the midfield and Andrew Johnson was a threat every time he got the ball – but I just thought it was a really outstanding performance from everyone.”
Middleton warned his players that the opening 20 minutes of the second period were crucial as his side were two goals to the good at half-time.
“At the interval when we led 2-0, we knew that the next goal was going to be massive,” he said.
“We knew they would come at us and we thought it was very important if we could get through the first 20 minutes.
“We just asked the lads to keep their discipline, keep playing in the same way which they had done and further chances would come our way.
“The game got stretched a little bit but the only clear cut opening for them was when Chow went through.”
The boss added: “I thought we were worthy winners and it is fantastic for the club and the supporters.
“The fans were first class, as we knew they would be, right the way through, but my lads have put a real shift in tonight.
“They have won the cup for the club, the supporters and for themselves, and I’m really proud of them.”