Derby win a belated birthday present for two-goal Johnson

Ashington FC Captain Andrew Johnson in action. Picture by Ian Appleby -
Ashington FC Captain Andrew Johnson in action. Picture by Ian Appleby -

Ashington skipper Andrew Johnson said the champagne corks would be popping in his Wansbeck home after he scored twice in his side’s 4-0 derby day victory over Bedlington Terriers.

He was 28 on Saturday, the same day as the Colliers went out of the FA Cup in a 2-1 defeat by Thackley, and he was in no mood to party.

“Celebrations were certainly muted,” he said.

“But I’ll enjoy tonight as understandably I feel in a much happier frame of mind.

“I was pleased with my performance but I just wished it had been on Saturday.

“It was bitterly disappointing to go out in the manner we did against Thackley, and it was not just the result which was poor but the performance as well, and we needed to bounce back against the Terriers.”

Johnson was pleased with his double strike in the first period with only the woodwork denying him a hat-trick.

“I thought the ball was going to go in after hitting the post,” he said.

“But I would have settled for scoring two goals before the game, which were pretty similar where I bent them into the corner.

“I have scored a few like that already this season so I’m hoping for a few more.

“I was delighted about getting a win with a good performance and I was pleased for Joe [Race] who got off the mark with his first goal.

“I thought we took our foot off the pedal but that was probably because we had a 3-0 cushion at half-time.

“It was good, though, to get a clean sheet because we haven’t had many so far this season.”

Both managers were full of praise for Johnson.

“AJ is a fantastic footballer and is the driving force in this team,” enthused Ashington manager Steve Harmison.

“We tried to play a formation which would give him some space when we played three centre halves at the weekend against Thackley, but it didn’t work out.

“Andrew is going to win us games because there are not many players in the Northern League as good as him.

“He runs with ball at his feet and can score goals from all angles, so it’s a case of trying to find the best place for him where he can affect games.”

“Terriers boss Andy Ferrell, whose side were undone in the first half by the brilliance of Johnson, admitted to being a huge fan of the Ashington skipper.

“AJ is a genius if you let him cut inside. No disrespect to the other players at Woodhorn Lane, but Andrew is the main threat.

“He’s a good player. I have told him that personally and I’m sure Steve Harmison will agree that he should have played in a league or two above, to be honest.

“He’s good enough, I rate him, and I’ve told his dad Michael that as well.

“I’m a fan of Andrew’s but he’s only quality if you allow him to do what he likes to do, which is to cut inside from the left.

“He scored two identical goals and we needed to stop him and force him down the line, but it never happened.”