Win over Newcastle United XI gives Ashington boost before FA Cup tie

Ashington keeper Conor Grant. Picture by Ian Appleby
Ashington keeper Conor Grant. Picture by Ian Appleby

Ashington FC manager Steve Harmison said the performance and the 1-0 result over a Newcastle United XI on Monday night has provided his outfit with a ‘massive boost’ ahead of their FA Cup extra preliminary round clash against Nelson at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday.

A buoyant Harmison said: “I thought all the players were brilliant. They stuck to a plan and made it hard for Newcastle.

“However, I have to single out goalkeeper Conor Grant, who was magnificent again and it shows why we think of him in such high regard.

“I still believe he is one of the best – if not the best – in the league.

“Overall it was a great night for the club. The performance and result gives us a massive boost before our FA Cup clash, but due to the financial problems we had last year following a nine-week lay-off because of the adverse weather, this was a much needed night for the club.”

Harmison showered praise on Peter Beardsley and Premier League referee Michael Oliver:.

“What Peter has done for us is beyond words,” he said. “In November he brought the Newcastle lads up for the opening of the AkzoNobel stand and has returned with them tonight, whilst Michael has refereed both games.

“Peter and Michael are both gentlemen, one is in a fantastic career whilst the other had a fantastic career.

“They will do anything to help and to do good for people, and that is something in football which doesn’t get highlighted enough.

“So on behalf of the whole club, I’d like to thank Peter, the rest of the back room staff and the players at Newcastle United for coming up to Woodhorn Lane, and I thought, as ever, they conducted themselves fantastically well.

“Michael [Oliver] is someone from our area who has never forgotten his roots and who offered his services to help on what has been a terrific night for Ashington FC.”