Ashington hat-trick hero Downey revels in wide role
Ashington FC's Kyle Downey clearly revelled in his new role on Saturday.
The 22-year-old midfielder was asked to play out wide and answered in the best way possible by scoring a hat-trick in a 3-2 win over Chester-le-Street.
And afterwards, Ashington-born Downey said: “I was asked to do a different job by playing on the right and I enjoyed it.
“I had licence to get more forward without doing defensive duties and it gave me a better opportunity to beat defenders and to get shots away.”
Downey scored his first two goals inside a three-minute spell before going on to get a third early in the second period from the penalty spot.
“My first and second goals were similar,” he said, “I got the ball out wide and had a full back on me but I went inside, beat him and just bent the ball into the far corner.
“I thought for the first one the keeper maybe could have done a bit better, but for the second, he never really had a chance.”
Downey was Ashington’s number one penalty taker at the start of the season until Ben Harmison took over the duties in recent weeks.
However, when awarded a spot kick on Saturday, Downey stepped forward and confidently made no mistake to complete a treble.
“I was on a hat-trick and there was no way I was going to let Ben take it off me,” he joked.
“I have been at the club for two and a half to three years and although this was not the first hat-trick of my career, it was my first for Ashington, so I was well chuffed.”
Downey added that after Ben Harmison had been red carded, the team spirit was apparent.
He said: “We are getting results by grinding teams down. The team spirit shone through after we went down to ten men as we worked together as a unit and got our rewards.”
Boss Steve Harmison said: “I’ve been critical of Kyle [Downey] in the last few weeks and we are still trying to get him to do things. We played him in a different position today to get him into areas where he can affect the game, and he has certainly done that by scoring two goals from open play and one from the penalty spot.
“When he is in those areas one-on-one with a defender, he has got great technique, and he took his goals brilliantly.
“That for me is a great positive, but I’ve told him it has got to be a watch and a warning because that is the bare minimum we now expect from him.”
Meanwhile the boss said the most important aspect about Saturday’s performance was winning the game.
“All in all it was a great battling performance,” he said.
“We were hanging on at the end but we have talked about the reason why we had been on a decent run recently and it was because we found a way to win.
“I thought we played some good football and controlled the game whilst limiting the chances at the other end.
“For a neutral it wasn’t a bad contest which went from end to end, but from our point of view it was a win and that was the most important thing.
“We can say it wasn’t pretty because it wasn’t but we were effective and created a few chances.”