Points welcomed but performance lacking

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ASHINGTON CFC manager Gary Middleton had no hesitation in declaring that his side deserved their win over Tow Law Town at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday – but admitted that the Colliers had not reached any heights of excellence.

Middleton said after the 2-1 victory: “We made a great start to the game by taking the lead in the fifth minute but it was very similar to the Norton encounter where we took our foot off the pedal and let them into the contest.

“There are no easy games in this league and this was a difficult fixture for us because Tow Law are fighting for their lives.”

Level at the break, Middleton said his told his side were told at the interval that they needed to improve.

“We had let them back into it with what I considered to be a deserved equaliser and we therefore went in at half-time a bit disappointed,” he said.

“We needed to raise our game and right from the start of the second period the play began to get stretched as we looked to create things.”

The boss had been forced into an early change with Jonny Godsmark coming off through injury – but at 1-1, Middleton changed his formation in order to look for all three points.

“We have got some big games coming up and we took Jonny (Godsmark) off as a precautionary measure,” he said.

“Mark (O’Dea) had an influence and Damen (Mullen) also slotted in very well when we went with four across the middle of the park.”

Middleton believed the game should have been wrapped up long before the final whistle.

He said: “The last 20 minutes we created a lot of chances – and although we deservedly won the game, it should have been by a more convincing scoreline.

“At the end of the day although it was not a great performance we still won, but from a manager’s point of view I want both – I want us to win and to play well.”

Meanwhile the Woodhorn Lane boss singled out defender turned midfielder James Taylor for special praise.

“James was quietly outstanding with the way he went about his job,” he said.

“He has not received the recognition which he has deserved over the last couple of months since we switched him into a midfield role.”