Harmison highlights '˜naivety' as Ashington lose to late South Shields goal

Ashington FC manager Steve Harmison was disappointed after his side, who were 2-1 ahead after an hour, conceded a late goal and went down 3-2 against promotion chasing South Shields at Mariners Park on Saturday.

Monday, 10th October 2016, 10:57 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 1:45 pm
Ashington manager Steve Harmison. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com

The boss said whilst he thought every one of his players was excellent, naivety coupled to mistakes proved to be there undoing.

He said: “We made some mistakes in the last 15 minutes and missed a couple of chances, but all in all I was over the moon and really pleased with the effort and the way the lads worked.

“We have played against a relatively good side who passed the ball really well and whose movement was good.

“Other than the penalty, our keeper Conor [Grant] has made one really good save, but apart from that, the back four must be wondering how have we have conceded three goals.

“I thought every one of my players were excellent, but it was a bit of naivety coupled with making mistakes which cost us the goal right at the end.

“Two or three times the ball should have been shifted but it wasn’t.

“I’m a big believer that you get what you deserve in football, but I think my lads have been hard done by today.

“They can think they deserved a point but it has been said in the dressing room that that kind of performance has to happen every week, not just when there is a crowd there.”

He continued: “It was a great game for my lads to play in and they handled the crowd really well, and some of the young lads were very good.

“But mistakes and missed chances just makes it hard work for us.

“I’m bitterly disappointed that we haven’t got at least a point because of the way the players have worked ever so hard and worked to the game plan.

“Ben Sampson again featured whilst Paul Antony controlled what we wanted to do.

“We isolated Ben Harmison, who put a great shift in and gave us the chances we needed to be in the game and it was unfortunate in stoppage time that a little bit of quality on Shields’ behalf has come through off the back of a mistake.”

After slipping behind to a fifth minute opener from Gavin Caines, Harmison’s side rallied to go in front with two goals in ten minutes from Kyle Downey and Lee McAndrew.

The boss said: “I thought it was brilliant of my lads to get back after conceding early. A lot of times this season when we have gone behind early, they have taken the water in and it’s difficult to get a foothold in the game.

“It was an excellent free kick from Kyle Downey and then we see the aerial power from Ben [Harmison] and all of a sudden we are back in the game and then 2-1 up after scoring a great goal. I thought we did really well.”

In the second half, McAndrew missed a one-on-one which would have made it 3-1 before Conor Grant upended substitute Gavin Cogden for the penalty.

Harmison said: “McAndrew had a couple of chances, a difficult one in the first half but I thought the Shields keeper did well to come and block his effort.

“The opportunity Lee had just after half-time was one of those you hope he is going to get it the right side of the post.”

Harmison, who thought it was a spot kick, added: “South Shields are a passing side who play good football and they were playing in front of us, but they never really got down the sides.

“We knew second half they were going to come out with a little bit more gusto and energy but I thought we dealt with that well.

“Then we have made mistakes to let them back in. We were frustrating them but in the end we have played against a good side and if you make mistakes against them you get punished.”