Ashington good value for the win

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GARY Middleton thought his Ashington side were good value for their 2-1 win over Sunderland RCA at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday.

The victory cemented the Colliers a place in the last 64 of the FA Vase.

Goals from Andrew Johnson and Matty Grieve earned them a home tie against United Counties League division one outfit AFC Rushden and Diamonds on December 8.

Following Saturday’s win, Middleton said: “It was tenterhooks for the final ten minutes, but I thought all in all we were good value for the win over the 90 minutes.

“We knew it was going to be a different game to the previous week and certainly one where they were not going to come and lie down.

“It was a difficult situation because we won comfortably and played well in the 6-0 result seven days earlier, and you start to wonder if you have played your cards too early.”

Ashington were without the cup tied Glen Taylor and David Molloy, so Josh Gray came back into the side from injury.

Middleton added: “We started the game really well, but though we went in front with Johnson’s free kick, which took a bit of a deflection, RCA were still in the game and it was even, although they weren’t putting us under too much pressure.

“They played a 4-5-1 formation to start the game off then when we got the second goal from a set piece, which was a great goal finished off by Matty, it knocked the stuffing out of them for a little bit.

“We went in at half-time happy with a comfortable lead to be fair, but we just warned the lads the next goal was crucial and we had to keep working hard.

“We reckoned that they would probably go a bit more direct and be a bit more positive second half, which it proved.

“They had a lot of possession, but I thought my players dug in and worked hard.

“We asked the two wide lads to drop in a little bit and try to stop their full backs from getting on the ball, and for all the possession RCA had, I still thought we had the better chances on the counter attack but we didn’t kill the game off.

“As a result, we’ve gone into the last ten minutes without having scored a third and with the next goal crucial, they have got it via a penalty and made for a nervy finale.

“Matty Grieve and skipper Liam Atkin are going through a great run of form at the moment whilst Gareth Bainbridge, who came on as a substitute, has come in from the cold and put in good shift.”

“Gareth Williams, who was in the starting line-up, has done likewise after being patient.

“I thought Williams too was terrific today and he was up against a tall forward in Guerin-Lokonga.

“Craig Scott not only returned to the squad from injury but came on for the last half hour and that was another plus.

“He only trained on Tuesday but he got through it after being eager to be involved again. On the downside, Josh Gray has been hurt on the same foot which he broke and has gone away very disappointed and as yet we don’t know the extent of the injury.”