GARY Middleton bemoaned how his Ashington side had conceded two soft goals which ultimately resulted in them going down to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of FA Carlsberg quarter-finalists Shildon at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday.
Middleton said afterwards: “I thought we started the first half well. We played some good football in difficult conditions and scored a very good and well worked goal through Andrew Johnson.
“At half-time I was happy because we had limited Shildon – obviously a team high on confidence and going well – on opportunities.”
But Middleton conceded that his outfit had not performed in the second half.
“Unfortunately we have gone out for the second 45 minutes and have failed to deliver.
“Our failure to do the basics correctly is concerning and is happening on a regular basis.
“Liam Atkin got caught on the wrong side of his man for the penalty and then for the second goal we have given the lad a free header from a set play.
“It was a throw-in but basically was set up as a corner and Greulich-Smith has got free on Matty Grieve.
“We narrowed this down in the dressing room afterwards and we cannot afford to give any team – let alone a good team – chances like we are doing.
“Teams are not working hard enough to score goals against us and on Saturday they were two soft goals we conceded.”
Middleton said of the second period: “We didn’t play like we had done in the first 45 minutes, nor with the same tempo.
“Once again we let a lead go and it is disappointing not to kill games off.
“We get ourselves in the driving seat but there is not enough desire to keep a clean sheet and in the end if we score a goal and keep a clean sheet then we win the game.
“We didn’t do enough second half where we dropped a gear or two.”
In the midst of another reverse, Middleton did outline three positives – with minutes on the pitch for Jonny Godsmark, Andrew Dobby and Marc Walton.
“Jonny showed glimpses of what he is capable of; Marc has been out for three to four weeks longer than we expected whilst I thought Andrew was one of our better players on the day,” he said.