Harmison hails best yet from his Ashington side in Morpeth draw

Ashington FC manager Steve Harmison thought his side gave their best display of the season in Monday's 1-1 draw against neighbours Morpeth Town.

Tuesday, 30th August 2016, 8:49 am
Updated Tuesday, 30th August 2016, 9:56 am
Ashington manager Steve Harmison. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com

However, Harmison’s delight was tinged with disappointment after his outfit – who led courtesy of a goal from Andrew Bulford – were pegged back five minutes from time when Luke Carr netted from the penalty spot after Lee McAndrew had been whistled up for a handling offence.

“It was a great point but I feel aggrieved,” said the Woodhorn Lane boss.

“I feel sorry for the 12 players who played in a black and white shirt because in my eyes it was never a penalty.

“I have just said to Lee there was nothing he could do with that, I thought it was a poor decision whilst later on in the game, Morpeth’s claims for handball were more of a penalty.

“Morpeth had some good possession and controlled an open game, but we knew that was going to happen.

“They have got good movement and players who knock the ball around nicely, but apart from our keeper Conor Grant making a couple of saves, I felt as though we did what we wanted to do, which was to frustrate them.

“I couldn’t single out any of our back four because they were all excellent and everyone who went on the field put a shift in.

“I was pleased for Andrew Bulford to get his goal because he showed great endeavour to get on the end of Downey’s pass, and when the ball is stuck higher up the pitch it gives our back four a bit of breathing space.

“Playing at home I thought we stuck to our game plan very, very well. We were quite solid at the back and limited Morpeth to not many chances.

“Sean Taylor missed an opportunity for them which arguably changed the game because if they had gone 1-0 up our confidence of late has not been what is should be.

“Everyone deserves a lot of credit but that has to be the bare minimum.

“We came up against Shildon and worked hard, we have done the same today against Morpeth and it has to continue.

“But that was our best performance of the season so far.

“I thought we played some nice football and it was a good game of football.

“I never say we deserve three points or deserve a point when we lose because I believe you get what you deserve.

“But I’m disappointed we have not got the three points. Chances were limited at both ends and I thought our back four deserved to be on the winning side.”

The boss is hoping for a feel-good factor to hit the club shortly.

“We have one or two potential signings to come in and others to come back like Ryan Bell and Ben Harmison,” he said.

“Ben is now free from suspension but his cricket takes priority, and it’s great that it looks as if Ashington Cricket Club are going to win the league.

“Hopefully we will get some of that feel-good factor when the cricket is finished and give our place a buzz.

“During the summer, some of our fans go and watch the cricket and it works the other way where a lot of supporters from the cricket come to watch us.”

Meanwhile Harmison explained that Craig Scott’s comeback is still some way off.

“Craig has been on the bench the last two games just to give us all a bit of a boost and make him feel he is part of the club,” he said.

“He’s moving well and his progress is good, but he is still a decent way off playing.

“People have got to be careful. He’s maybe two weeks away from playing any football and then possibly another two weeks away from playing for us and we have to manage him.”