Goalscorer Harmison believes Ashington are on the rise

Ashington FC's Ben Harmison firmly believes the Woodhorn Lane outfit are a '˜club on the up'.

Monday, 31st October 2016, 12:33 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 3:38 pm
Ashington FC's Ben Harmison. Picture by Gary Welford

The striker despatched the all important penalty which earned his side a narrow 2-1 victory from a thrilling encounter against Seaham Red Star on Saturday.

And following the win he said: “I’m enjoying my football. It’s good that a few lads have come up to support me in the attack so that when I pop the ball off or flick it on, I know someone is there.

“We are getting on the ball and not just lumping it, and apart from our exit against Blyth Town in the Northumberland Senior Cup last midweek, we are doing really well in the league.

“I believe the club is on the up. We have got games in hand to get up the table to fifth or sixth place and I don’t think other sides will relish the thought of playing against us.”

Ashington-born Harmison, who lives in the town, was happy to get amongst the goals for the second consecutive Saturday after scoring the opener in the 4-0 win at Newton Aycliffe the previous week.

He said: “I’m definitely thrilled to get on the score sheet again.

“I don’t class myself as being a massive goalscorer, but if I don’t hit the target, I’m perfectly happy to hold the ball up, play other people in or flick the ball on.

“I was particularly pleased with the result Saturday because we didn’t deserve to lose.

“The lads have worked hard over the past few weeks and it’s good to get another win under our belts, but our aim is to get over little blips.

“We tend to take one step forward then let ourselves down in games which we should be winning, but no one can put their finger on the reason why.”

The 30-year-old confidently scored from the spot against Seaham but revealed that he was not the first choice taker.

“I thought Dan [O’Reilly] was going to take the penalty,” he said.

“Dan wanted it and was confident, but I ended up taking it in the end.

“I had missed my last spot kick against Newcastle Benfield, so I was happy to step up and score.

“We are a really hard team to play against. We are confident and are passing the ball well.

“On Saturday we defended well and worked hard as a team, and the fact that we have a big squad is another plus.”

Reflecting on the victory, manager Steve Harmison outlined several qualities which culminated in the destination of the three points.

“First of all it was a very, very good win against a very, very good side who are in the top six for a reason,” he said.

“We spoke about the defeat at training on Thursday, questioning the attitudes of playing against the top sides and the sides who are in and around us, and it is something we have got to improve on going into games.

“Against a very good side we got a great victory by sticking together with the attitude, commitment and desire to make that win with lads throwing bodies on the line at the end.

“I was proud of the way the lads conducted themselves in the game, showing great work-rate, resolution, discipline and a desire to get three points.”

Harmison was pleased with the response of his players following their defeat by Blyth Town in the Northumberland Senior Cup in midweek.

“From our point of view, I thought we passed the ball better than we did against Blyth Town,” he said.

“We shortened the game up after getting brushed up into a cup tie on Tuesday when we just kept hitting the ball long and got caught up in the headlights.

“It was good to see some of the players like Ben Sampson and Shaun Bell coming back as well, but all in all, the lads did well and I was really pleased for them because when you lose in the cup against a team who is in a lower league, it’s always difficult to pick yourself up.

“However, I thought the lads did that well, even though we were not the only higher status side to go out of the competition.”

Harmison is wanting consistency from his outfit: “We played South Shields recently and should have got something out of the game,” he added.

“Morpeth equalised with a late penalty against us and we beat Newton Aycliffe away who are in the top six, and then our result today.

“And that shows that our challenge is to get consistency.

“We went behind on Saturday before coming back to take the game 2-1, and that shows the character we have in that dressing room, which is driven from the senior characters in the squad.”

For Saturday’s trip to Washington, keeper Conor Grant returns but Harmison will need to assess the fitness of Andrew Bulford, Ben Richardson and Lee McAndrew.