Ashington boss Gary Middleton praised his side not only in the light of Saturday’s terrific 3-2 win against Durham City, but also for what he described as being a fantastic week for the club.
A delighted Middleton emerged from the dressing room and said: “New Ferens Park is a tough place to come when you are playing against a very good footballing side in Durham and we have come away with the three points so I am thrilled to bits. Not only that but overall, it’s been a fantastic week for us with three wins from three very tough games following on from our FA Vase win over Worksop Parramore and Northumberland Senior Cup success over Newcastle Benfield.”
And Middleton’s pats on the back did not stop there as he was full of compliments for Saturday’s match referee Michael Gillespie after a defining moment in the game. The official yellow carded Durham’s Nick Allen for diving in the area seconds before Ashington scored what proved to be the winner through Marc Walton from the counter attack: “It looked like it was a penalty from the bench but on speaking to our keeper Karl (Dryden) who said he never touched him, it was a great decision by the referee. We have then broke away and Marc Walton has put the ball into the back of the Durham net.”
Reflecting on the first half, Middleton said: “The game panned out the way we had expected it to. We were playing on an artificial surface which Durham are used to which is definitely an advantage because there players train and play on it on a weekly basis. The first period was one where neither team have threatened the goal and I thought the best passage of play in going forward resulted in our goal. It was a great ball from Lee Scott into Glen Taylor who has gone over it with a dummy and Marc Walton has finished it off with aplomb.”
He continued: “There wasn’t a great deal in the contest and we were naturally disappointed that Durham equalised ten minutes before the end. I thought we could have done better as we haven’t got close enough out on the flanks to stop the ball coming into the box but in fairness Craig Ellison has put a good ball in and it’s gone into the corner.”
He went on: “Second half we felt we could raise our game because I didn’t think we had played great football on the surface which was disappointing. They have scored and have had a lot of the play, passing it around well but give my lads their due, they have stuck at it and for our equaliser, it was a great tackle by James Taylor on the right hand side before David Carson has put a super ball across for Dean Briggs to finish off.”
Carson and Briggs had been introduced as substitutes and Middleton added: “I thought they both played a major part today contributing to the game and that’s what we need from everyone. The game of football is about scoring goals and at 2-1 up then 2-2, Durham have had good opportunities but haven’t taken them and that’s why I’ve got to take my hat off to our lads.”
The one downside of the win came with an injury picked up by Scott Blandford: “It’s frustrating,” said Middleton, “It looks as if Scott could be out for a couple of weeks which is a disappointment because we didn’t want to get any knocks or niggles particularly over the next month.”