ASHINGTON CFC manager Gary Middleton slammed his players in the aftermath of their 5-1 defeat against Sunderland RCA on Saturday, describing their performance as “unacceptable”.
“As a team we cannot defend as we did on Saturday and expect to get results,” he said.
“I was extremely disappointed with the display for Neil Winskill and myself as the management team and also for the club and its supporters.
“It was not acceptable – things need to improve – and the players were told after the final whistle.
“They let everyone down and they owe everyone a performance.”
Middleton felt his side had made an excellent start with a goal by Gareth Bainbridge after only five minutes.
“It was the perfect beginning,” he added.
“We had played some good football from the kick-off and looked comfortable, but we then nose-dived from a team full of confidence to one with low esteem after two errors from our goalkeeper Karl Dryden.
“And the second goal coming shortly before half-time completely changed our team talk.
“Neil and myself had thought that if we went in at the break on level terms, then we were kicking down the hill in the second half and would keep RCA penned in – and go on to win the game.”
However, 2-1 down, Ashington were presented with a glorious chance to level when they were awarded a penalty within 20 seconds – only for Stephen Young to see his spot kick saved.
“It was the turning point,” added Middleton.
“It was a great start to the half but you cannot compensate for someone missing from 12 yards.”
Striker Gavin Barton notched a hat-trick and Middleton said: “We just could not handle Barton and Mark Davison up front – they looked like scoring every time the ball was played into the box.”
Middleton concluded: “We did not make a great start to last season and the same has happened this term.
“We are getting little knocks all the time but things will get better.”