Ashington fear no one in division, says boss Harmison

Ashington manager Steve Harminson, left, with club captain Andrew Johnson.
Ashington manager Steve Harminson, left, with club captain Andrew Johnson.

Ashington FC manager Steve Harmison he fancies his side’s chances against anyone in the Northern League after Wednesday night’s 3-0 win against Newcastle Benfield.

Andrew Johnson, Matty Grieve and Michael King were all on target in the first period for the Colliers, and Harmison said afterwards: “This was a very good win, with the players showing some solid character.

“We were playing against a team we only beat last week, and the one thing you want to do if you get beat off somebody is to come back at them hard.

“Consequently, we were expecting that from Benfield, and to be fair, they did do that, but first half, I thought my lads didn’t give them much of a chance.

“I thought we moved the ball well and very quickly.

“Second period, the Benfield keeper made three or four good saves, and we still kept going.

“The last three or four weeks, things have started to come together.

“I knew at the beginning of the season that I had a good squad. The problem was that I wasn’t able to have them all available, and when you only have 12 to 14 players, it makes things very difficult.

“This was Michael King’s first start for three or four months.

“His movement was excellent, and his touch was good, but the more we can get out of him the better.

“It was fortunate for us – and probably the first bit of good luck we have had this season – that the Durham University fixture was called off, which allowed Michael and Chris Moore to play for us.

“I thought Michael Dixon was excellent. I have always known he was a smashing footballer, and I think we have nicked a good player from Dunston UTS, while Andrew Johnson has pace and a trick going forward, and he was superb again for us. “I’ve wanted to build a culture with my players over the age of 30, and that’s something which we need to drive on with the youngsters because the youngsters are going to give them legs while the older ones will give them guidance.

“James Harmison and Michael Dixon have been around the Northern League a while and know what they are doing, and they are going to be invaluable for us.

“However, there is a fitness concern about James. He shouldn’t really have played tonight, and we had to take him off at half-time.”

Though Ashington sit in the bottom half of the table, a point behind 11th-placed Newton Aycliffe and 18 adrift of league leaders Shildon, the former England cricketer reckons the Colliers, on their day, have the beating of anyone in division one.

“We desperately needed a win tonight,” he said.

“When Ashington play at a high tempo, there is a little bit of spring in their step, and I fancy us against anyone in this league, which was evident against Shildon on Saturday and again tonight.

“Joe Race has got minutes on the pitch tonight, and we have kept Lee Scott fresh for Saturday because he has put two good shifts in for us, and there is the bigger picture to look at.”