Ashington boss Harmison blames defeat on mistakes

Ashington manager Steve Harmison. Picture by Ian Appleby -
Ashington manager Steve Harmison. Picture by Ian Appleby -

Ashington FC manager Steve Harmison admitted that mistakes proved costly as his side went down 3-1 against Newcastle Benfield at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday.

The contest was the first in eight weeks for both sides, but the former Durham and England cricketer refused to make that fact or other suggestions as an excuse for the reverse.

Harmison said: “There are enough players in that dressing room who have played a lot of football to know what the scene is; what the weather is all about; and how you have to deal with playing Northern League football.

“We didn’t start the game as well as we should do and again the players left it to somebody else where ‘he’ll do it’, which has started creeping into our game, and the opposition nip in to score.

“I didn’t think there was much in the game other than we made a couple of mistakes, and when you do that and Paul Brayson is against you he scores goals and will punish you, it’s as simple as that.

“I wouldn’t say we didn’t deserve to get beat, but I think the mistakes we made proves that we probably didn’t deserve to get anything out of the game.

“We can make excuses like the pitch didn’t suit us and all different things, but the simple fact is we lost the game today.

“You cannot give away a two goals start and then play catch up against any side, whether they are top or bottom of the league, and I don’t buy into the fact that we had an enforced two months off without a game.

“There are things you have got to look at. I wouldn’t say we weren’t good enough but we didn’t make the right decisions at key times, which has cost us the game.

“We had a lot of possession without really troubling the Benfield goalkeeper and had a chance at the very end which was unfortunate as Andrew Johnson was just off balance.

“The positives were that we kept going in conditions which were deteriorating.

“Things were going against us, the ball didn’t fall for us, but you have no divine right to turn up anywhere whether it be home or away against any side and think you can go onto the pitch and win the game because you haven’t, it’s a tough league.

“Also, we are finding out that we are maybe not as good as we think we are and that needs to be addressed very, very quickly because it comes down to being street wise and my lads weren’t that today.

“We were wide open at times and maybe on reflection it was a selection issue.

“We played with all out attackers and maybe the game plan cost us in the first 20 minutes, so I’ll take some responsibility on that, but the players on the field should know what it takes to win after a long lay-off, especially at home.

“I thought this was a good game for us today, but it hasn’t gone our way.”

Harmison was also disappointed with the performances of the three match officials.

“I can understand an official having a bad day, but I am now constantly getting frustrated at the level of officials, and today that is the worst I have ever seen,” he said.

“There are things I can and will put up with, but there were eight throw-ins right in front of us in the first half and the officials got seven of them wrong.

“We had Kyle Oliver sent off yet Benfield had two players on yellow cards who made challenges and there wasn’t a word spoken to them because the game was played on for four or five minutes.”