Two awards for Ashington midfielder Downey

Ashington FC Award winners, from left, Connor Grant, Kyle Downey and Glen Taylor. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com
Ashington FC Award winners, from left, Connor Grant, Kyle Downey and Glen Taylor. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com
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Kyle Downey scored two league goals for Ashington last season but he hit a more significant double at the weekend.

The Colliers held their annual presentation in the Woodhorn Lane clubhouse on Saturday and it was a good night for the midfielder.

The 20-year-old – a machine operator for Cramlington-based firm British Engines – scooped both the player of the year and supporters’ player of the year.

He received the awards from manager Steve Harmison and supporters’ chairman Ian Reid respectively.

Ashington-born Downey, who lives in the town, said the wins were totally unexpected.

“The news of the two awards has come as a massive surprise and I’m speechless to talk about it,” he said.

“Personally I thought Conor Grant would have got them because he was outstanding, but it just shows that you never know and credit to the fans and to the management that have come in.

“I’m delighted. I experienced awards like this at junior level, but at senior level and at a club of this size, this is a totally different kettle of fish.

“Needless to say, I cannot wait for next season.”

Grant won the players’ player of the season, which is rapidly becoming acknowledged as being the highest accolade on the presentation agenda.

The 25-year-old student, who was signed from neighbours Blyth Spartans during the campaign, won wide acclaim for his assured performances between the posts which made him an instant hit with the supporters.

Grant said: “I’m happy with the award because I always think it’s the best one to win as you are getting recognised by your fellow players.

“I had no idea and consequently it came as a big surprise as it could have gone to any of several other players.”

He added: “Obviously when I joined things were difficult to begin with as we went through a bit of a rough patch and couldn’t manage to get out of it.

“The boss at the time Gary Middleton had done a great job but it was a bit of a difficult season.

“However, once the new management came in, they breathed a new lease of life into the club and it’s been different class since then.

“I can’t wait for next term – I just hope we can lift some silverware.”

Meanwhile Glen Taylor’s spectacular volley from the edge of the area, which was his hat trick goal in the 4-3 away win at Shildon, earned him the golden boot ‘goal of the season’ trophy.

Meanwhile chairman Ian Lavery reflected on the campaign and paid tributes to several individuals.

He said: “My thanks go to the previous manager Gary Middleton and his team who did a professional job; to David Brown; the executive committee; football secretary Brian Robson; our sponsors; supporters and to the new management team.”

Harmison echoed the chairman’s sentiments about Middleton.

“Gary did a fantastic job for this football club,” said the team boss at the beginning of his speech, then added: “I’ve got to reiterate what I have already stated previously about the Colliers reserve side management staff of David Brown, David Leightley and Steve Jones, because in my first six weeks in the post, they provided players for the first team at the drop of a hat.”