Ashington CFC manager Gary Middleton was full of praise for his side on Saturday – even though they slipped to a 3-2 defeat at the hands of title chasers Spennymoor Town on a mud bath of a pitch at Woodhorn Lane.
Middleton said: “I said to the lads in the dressing room that football is a funny game because you don’t always get out of it what you deserve.
“In Spennymoor we have played another top team – the third in a week at home – and on another day we might have got something out of the contest.
“Sometimes you get the rub of the green and on other occasions you don’t.
“There was not an awful lot wrong with the performance from my lads today, we came up against a top team who had loads of quality all over the pitch and Spennymoor have just shaded it on the day.
“I’m not downhearted, and I’ve just told them that there was nothing to be ashamed of in that display.”
Middleton thought his side were worthy of some reward from the game and – like his opposite number Jason Ainsley – complimented all the players who worked tirelessly on a gruelling surface.
“Overall, I’m a bit disappointed that we didn’t get something from the contest,” he said.
“I thought the effort, work rate and the quality on a horrible pitch was very good from the teams and both sets of players did themselves very proud today.”
The boss was disappointed as his side conceded an early goal, and after drawing level thought it was a fairly even duel.
“I thought we started off poorly and it was an awful goal to concede early doors,” he said.
“We haven’t picked up a runner and the ball has ended up in the back of the net.
“We got ourselves back into the game and after hitting the equaliser looked good for the second 25 minutes – and for my money there wasn’t a great deal between the two teams.”
The boss was clearly disappointed with the other two goals which his side leaked.
He added: “We started the second half well and went 2-1 up with a great strike from Sam Norris.
“But it’s the next ten to 15 minutes which are vital, and the equaliser is a horrible goal to concede.
“At 2-2 I thought we played some great football going forward and we had a chance when Glen (Taylor) got in behind them and squared the ball to Andrew Johnson who unfortunately hasn’t been able to get a foot on it.
“Again the third goal which Spennymoor scored wasn’t great from our point of view because it was from a set piece – but we move on.”