Superb victory does not surprise Middleton

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A DELIGHTED Ashington CFC manager Gary Middleton admitted after Saturday’s 3-1 victory over STL Northern League first division leaders Shildon that he was not in the least bit surprised by the result.

The Colliers boss said: “I’ve said all season that we are capable of performing like we have done today and therefore capable of beating anyone in the league.

“And whilst I’m thrilled at what was a superb result, I’m not entirely surprised.”

Middleton was happy with the way his side began the game but thought they should have been awarded a spot kick before they eventually went ahead from a penalty six minutes before the interval.

“I thought we started well but they have had the best opportunities,” he added.

“They’ve had two or three good half chances in the first 20 minutes then as the game settled down, I thought we should have had a penalty from a corner for a blatant push on Paul Dunn.”

The boss was, however, disappointed in the manner in which his side allowed the Railwaymen to get back on level terms just before half-time.

He said: “It was once again a lapse of concentration for a minute which has let us down.

“I thought we could have cleared the ball better on the edge of the box and we should have dealt with it better.”

On the flip side, goals from Chris Scott and Andrew Johnson pleased the manager.

“The long throw by Johnny Wightman was always a threat and I’ve been screaming for the lads to pick up second balls,” he said.

“Scott has done that on the edge of the box and finished well. Then it was great goal by Johnson just to kill the game off with a bit of quality and sheer class.

“Shildon were always going to keep coming at us. They were top of the league before the game – and were not leaders for nothing – they are a real top team and that’s why they are up there.

“They put us under a lot of pressure even with ten men but didn’t really threaten us as in clear cut chances.”

Middleton applauded his side’s workrate, adding: “Second half we’ve done well. We had a game plan – they are a very good passing team and are always going to open you up but we had to try and get to them down the sides and during periods of the game we did that well.

“Obviously playing against ten men helped, although it doesn’t always work out that way, but I thought we worked really hard and took our opportunities when they came along.

“It was pleasing and it was a good result, especially with several players including Steven Shaw, Jonny Godsmark and Phill Bell missing, whilst we also lost Darren Lough and Gareth Rees through injury during the game.”

Middleton also praised defender Paul Dunn, who slotted into the side on his return from a lengthy lay off.

“I was thrilled to bits for Paul,” he said.

“He has come into the side and given an excellent display.”