Spennymoor’s 5-0 victory over Newton Aycliffe on Friday night at the same time as Ashington were on their way to a fantastic 3-2 win at Shildon, saw the Moors take over the leadership of the Ebac Northern League first division from the Railwaymen.
And Moors boss Jason Ainsley said he considers Gary Middleton’s outfit to be genuine contenders for the championship crown come the end of the season.
Ainsley, who masterminded the Durham club to FA Vase glory last season with a 2-1 victory over Tunbridge Wells in the final at Wembley, said on Sunday: “I was not surprised at all that they beat Shildon because Ashington can overcome anybody on their day – they are a good side.
“I said before we played them on the opening day of the season that they would be in the championship mix come the end of the campaign, and nothing has happened since to make me change my mind.
“Although we beat them 4-0, Gary Middleton’s side have seen off some good teams including Celtic Nation, Marske and obviously Shildon, and I still see them as being a real threat to other clubs as well as ourselves for the title.”
Ainsley continued: “Ashington are on fire at the moment and are going into games full of confidence, which is always a bonus.
“It is early days but on paper they are as good a side as any in the league and I think they will be challenging.”
Ashington boss Gary Middleton, whose outfit are in fourth spot in the table, said: “It’s always nice to receive complimentary comments from a manager of another club ,but the old cliché of trying to overcome one game at a time could not be more apt.
“The lads have been terrific and continue to set high standards, and we’ll be focusing on our next game at Dunston on Saturday.
“It will be another top six game and as usual we will be taking nothing for granted.”