Ashington win a job well done - Harmison

Ashington manager Steve Harmison.
Ashington manager Steve Harmison.

Ashington FC manager Steve Harmison was delighted with his side’s showing after goals from Ben Harmison and Andrew Johnson had booked a place in the next round of the Brooks Mileson Memorial League Cup.

And whilst the boss admitted that it wasn’t the perfect performance, he was happy to give his players a pat on the back and declare it was a job well done.

Harmison said afterwards: “I was really pleased with the way we controlled the game.

“I thought we kept the ball well and moved it quite well.

“We were a bit slow in the middle third and defensive third but the reason why it was 0-0 at half time was maybes a lack of decisiveness by ourselves and a wrong decision with the final ball.

“Second half coming down the bank, I thought we made better decisions and had a few more chances.”

Harmison revealed that with an ever growing injury and unavailability list, he had to work hard to get 11 fit players on the field: “At tea time on Monday, ten first team players were available,” he said,

“We drafted in ‘keeper Ben Dudzinski who is studying at Durham University and he has had an excellent game for what he did.

“There wasn’t much happening but I thought Ben made two good saves. Our regular stopper Conor Grant is struggling with his groin so by playing Ben, it gives us a bit of a chance to give Conor more time to recover.

“Ben has done us a favour tonight because students cannot usually play midweek games.

“They play their fixtures on a Wednesday, so for him to come tonight was fantastic and gives Conor a couple of weeks to get himself sorted for that end of November-early December tough period and we want to make sure he is 100 per cent fit.”

Harmison also paid tribute to players making a return to the side: “It was great to see others get game time under their belts,” he said,

“Gareth Williams and Paul Dunn have been injured and they have both done brilliant jobs for us.

“I thought Ollie Hotchkiss had a smashing game; the two centre halves (Liam Atkin and Matty Grieve) had good matches; Kyle Oliver and Jonathyn Quinn both got a good 90 minutes workout.

“Kyle ran up and down the flank which was good whilst our captain (Andrew Johnson) worked really well off Ben Harmison.

“All in all it was a great night for us and I was over the moon with the application the lads showed because Heaton Stannington are going well in the second division and this was a banana skin for us.

“We gave them the respect they deserved but apart from the odd five minutes patch where they came into it a little bit more, I thought we controlled the game really well.”

He added: “If we had scored in the first half I think it would have settled us down a little bit.

“Some of the players who were on the pitch hadn’t played a great deal of football and were finding their way a little bit.

“I thought we were excellent in the second half and although I wouldn’t say it was a perfect performance, it was nevertheless a job well done.

“Michael Angus and Craig Webb have also done favours for us tonight because last year Ashington Colliers kept us going when they supplied players to us when required.

“Michael - who plays for AFC Newbiggin - trains with us every week and we thought we would give Michael and Craig a chance and the two came on as substitutes and did well.

“Webb set up the second goal, whilst Angus put a couple of lovely crosses over.

“We have not used Michael Dixon who was struggling with an injury and fingers crossed we start to get players back.

“Then it will result in a big headache for the management team in terms of selection.

“There must have been 14 players not available to us tonight and after the performance put in, that is scary in terms of what we can have.”