Harmison delighted with win over Whitley Bay

Ashington manager Steve Harmison in the dugout Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com
Ashington manager Steve Harmison in the dugout Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com

Ashington FC manager Steve Harmison was beaming with delight after watching his outfit hit five goals for the second time this season.

The Colliers enjoyed a 5-1 scoreline over neighbours Whitley Bay at Hillheads on Tuesday night.

Harmison said: “I’ve said it over the last few weeks that that was the best we have played, and when you examine the players we had missing – and the list is endless – full credit to the squad.

“There are seven players out for a short period, but we have four or five out long term and what we have had are new lads and kids who have come in and been absolutely fantastic, and I cannot praise them enough.

“I thought every single player to a man worked brilliantly in that first half, and the thing which pleased me the most was the work rate for each other, not for individuals.

“When Whitley Bay had the ball, we had players all over the pitch filling in and covering for each other. Then when we got the ball, we hit them on the break, which was the way we had set things up.

“We isolated Ben [Harmison], who was fantastic again, but he had to come off five minutes before the end because he had literally run his race.

“I was pleased for every single person including Ben Sampson, who is only 17-years-old, he was great, whilst asking Ryan Bell to play two games in a short space of time with his body was a big ask.

“We know we are going to have time off with no game until Saturday week and so didn’t want to risk the likes of James Harmison, Ben Christensen or Andrew Bulford.”

Ashington got off to a great start with a goal by Lee McAndrew after only five minutes.

“We let Whitley Bay play in front of us and we were happy, especially when we got a little bit of luck for the goal which put us in front, then we were awarded a penalty, which I thought was the correct decision,” added the manager.

“We came out the second half, as we normally do, slowly, but the reason why we signed David Dormand was because he scores goals.

“He got one on Saturday and has got two tonight and he has done a fantastic job.

“I also thought Paul Dunn was magnificent. He hadn’t done any pre-season; has trained eight or nine times and played for Ashington Colliers at the weekend.

“I would single him out for what he has done for us tonight. He’s an experienced player and has sat in there and helped the young lads get through what is a difficult place to come.

“I have asked a lot of Paul in the time I have been at Ashington because he is a friend. But after getting through the whole game, I have bought him a special drink in the clubhouse as he has done me and Ashington Football Club a massive favour.

“Paul will say he was just doing his job, but I need characters with so much experience and knowledge who can help the youngsters who are coming in.

“I believe we have a nice little balance and that for me is why we are winning football matches.”

As his outfit now have ten days before their next game, Harmison added: “I’m happy with the situation because we had seven players who are struggling.

“Ryan Bell and Paul Dunn were asked far too much of them today, and Ben Harmison was also asked to do a lot bearing in mind his other commitments including cricket, but the way he played both on Saturday and tonight up front by himself was a credit to him.

“Andrew Bulford and Ben Christensen and the others all need time off, and as much as you would like to continue to play we have to make sure we do things right.

“We have to get ourselves ready for what is a massive FA Vase match at Easington.

“People will say we will go into it with confidence, but it will be a hard game. They are a good side who gave us a good game last season and they were unfortunate not to take the tie to extra time or a replay.

“They are flying in the second division so we want to be ready for them.”