Deflated Ashington boss Gary Middleton admitted after Saturday’s 2-1 away defeat at Crook Town that the first half performance from his side had played a major and significant part in the end result as they left themselves with a mountain to climb.
Middleton said: “I’ve told the lads that games are over 90 minutes, not 45.
“We never got going first half and I was disappointed with the display from everyone.
“We huffed and puffed in second gear but we didn’t get close to them; we gave them far too much room and time and space in midfield and you just cannot do that at this level.
“My players were ten yards off the play in all areas and the second goal is a prime example.
“We have cleared the ball and they have picked it up with acres of space, played it out wide, and the lad has had time to put the ball in, and even then there was no one marking Davis in the centre.”
But the boss was adamant in not offering any excuses.
He added: “Crook played well and passed the ball around, so there are no excuses from us – just I didn’t think we were at the races for the first 45 minutes and all round it was disappointing first half.”
Middleton, however, was pleased with the application his side showed after the break.
“I thought we were better second half – we bossed it but we had given ourselves a mountain to climb,” he said.
“I thought the character came through second half and we’ve had chances to take something from the game.
“But what was disappointing was that we didn’t perform in the first half as we did in the second half. If we had, then I’m sure we would have won the game.”