Harmison hammers players after Ashington disappoint again

Ashington FC manager Steve Harmison.
Ashington FC manager Steve Harmison.

Ashington boss Steve Harmison slammed his players in the wake of back to back defeats last week.

The Colliers went out of the FA Vase with a whimper last Wednesday in a 3-0 defeat against holders North Shields.

They then crashed to their heaviest home defeat for two years on Saturday when Seaham Red Star beat them 4-1.

Afterwards Harmison pulled no punches describing the display as “unacceptable”.

He said: “If I’m brutally honest, that defeat today has hurt me more than Wednesday’s reverse in the FA Vase.

“We are still carrying a little number of injuries but we’re at home against a team below us in the league.

“Wednesday night took a lot out of us so we made changes which hopefully was going to be a wake up call to our group of people as we tried to freshen everything up.

“We were poor on Wednesday, and not many of the players could have complained if they had not been playing today.

“I don’t think the ones that weren’t playing were unlucky, I just thought the ones who were playing were very lucky.

“There are a lot of people at this football club who do good things and unfortunately the players let themselves down.

“I’m not saying the effort is not there, I just thought the lads lacked confidence after the Shields defeat and I don’t think people realised how hard that exit hit us, but common sense and the simplest thing in football just wasn’t in evidence today.”

He continued: “I thought they [Seaham] were a bit fortunate for the first goal as Matty Grieve slipped and the bounce of the ball didn’t go our way.

“We were lucky to get the corner which led to our equaliser but we have gone from a team who looked very, very good and who were on a decent good run, to a team who looked like they didn’t know each other.

“It just seems the defeat at Shields has dented the whole confidence and broken the cycle of that unbeaten run.

“It’s going to get harder from here too because we have got to go back to North Shields in the Northumberland Senior Cup in midweek followed by league games against Penrith and Shildon.

“We have got to stick together and move forward otherwise we are going to go into freefall, and that’s something which I am not prepared for this club to do.

“It’s got to hurt the players because it’s hurting me.

“It’s disappointing because if we could get a couple of wins, especially having games in hand, we would then be where we are expecting to be – at the top end.

“But at this moment in time after the performances we have had over the last 180 minutes, we are not challenging the top end, unfortunately, and I think that needs to be addressed

“We are making mistakes and I don’t know if it is complacency or a lackadaisical mindset, but we seem to be slow getting into football matches, and we have been like that all season.

“All of a sudden we have conceded goals, all of which have materialised from little and simple mistakes within the first five minutes in our last four halves, and that is criminal.”

He concluded: “Seaham were there for the taking in the first half, even though they sat in, but my players did not perform to the level which I expect them too and after the Vase display, that is worrying.

“The simple fact is the lads should have been red hot today, but they weren’t at the races.

“That is something which I’m more disappointed about than anything else.

“I’ve been in a professional sport where you have got to be man enough to take defeat, but not many times have I been involved with teams like ours today where performance levels are not acceptable.”