Boss believes players failed to step up to the mark

GARY Middleton expressed his frustration and disappointment after his Ashington side had drawn 1-1 with Hebburn Town at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday.

The boss felt the players had not stepped up to the mark or done enough to win the game.

Middleton said: “I thought we had a great start with that early goal by Marc Walton – but after about 20 to 25 minutes we took our foot off the pedal and let them come back into the game.

“It was then even, there wasn’t a lot in it. They didn’t create an awful lot and neither did we.

“We had the slope advantage second half but again there wasn’t much happening for either team.”

Middleton bemoaned the fact that his side’s mistakes are being severely punished.

“Hebburn have shoved the big lad Kirkup up top with about half an hour to go and played a lot of direct stuff to him, but their equaliser has come from a mistake on the halfway line – and we keep making them, which is costing us dearly.

“Neither team really threatened after that but I didn’t think we did enough over the 90 minutes to win the game.

“I told the players I was disappointed with their second half performance.

“I thought we were comfortable first half but I didn’t think they did enough second 45 from front to back to make Hebburn work harder in their defensive third.

“I didn’t think we were good enough in the middle third, passing and winning the ball back and it was a sloppy goal to concede.

“It was definitely not a case of it being after the Lord Mayor’s show because I made the players aware of that before the game.

“We just haven’t stepped up to the mark today, which was frustrating as we were playing a team who are flying and who are above us in the league table, and to be fair are having a great season.

“However, I didn’t think they caused us too many problems and we have been done by a mistake and haven’t done enough going forward in our general play.

“I thought the quality was poor; I didn’t think we created much or passed the ball very well – so it was a disappointing afternoon.”

Hebburn boss Paul Bennett said: “I thought it was a fair result in the end.

“We weathered the first 15 to 20 minutes when Ashington were the better side by far.

“We were over-run but after that we got back into the game and were the better side second half.

“I don’t think our keeper has made a save or been tested for the full 90 minutes.

“I thought we had a few chances to nick it but a draw was the right result.

“We changed formation and put Kirkup up front and it worked – but unfortunately our centre half got injured so we had to bring Kirkup back and we lost a bit of momentum.”