Harmison looks to protect centre backs from too many games

Ashington's Jonathan Giles in action against West Allotment Celtic. Picture by Gavin Perry
Ashington's Jonathan Giles in action against West Allotment Celtic. Picture by Gavin Perry

Ashington FC boss Steve Harmison was delighted with his side after securing back to back wins against Shildon and West Allotment Celtic inside four days last week.

An upbeat Harmison said after Saturday’s success: “It was an important win against West Allotment Celtic.

“We said to the players after the game at Shildon that the victory was only going to be a good result if we won at home today.

“At five to three it was arguably the most important game of the season for us because it was the next in a relegation fight, but I’ve got nothing but praise for every single player.

“My two older lads at the back [James Harmison and Wayne Buchanan] were excellent against Shildon and were tired and sore coming into this clash, and they’ve marshalled the group excellently.

When you have got young lads around you to give you energy and a buzz and that bit quality it makes a difference, and I think I have got two very, very good central defenders who we are going to have to protect in the next six games because of the age of their bodies.

“In them we have got knowledge and experience and the standards they set in their own personal performances is something that the rest of the team can go off.”

He continued: “I thought my young kids were absolutely brilliant today. Every single one of them to a man.

“I have singled my two older lads out because they were the ones that have gone to Shildon and held them together and got us over the line, and they have basically not done that much today, but what they have done is set a foundation and a platform for our younger lads to go and play.

“Dylan Williamson is growing in a black and white shirt. He’s fantastic and his pace is frightening. I know what he is like and he hasn’t got anything to prove to me, Ian Skinner or Lee Anderson.

“Again, we see the club captain Andrew Johnson is back on the field alongside James Loughborough and the two Kyles, Downey and Oliver.

“I could go through every single member of the team. Conor Grant was excellent with crosses coming in, the two Lewis’s [Robson and Davison] came on and did really well but all of the players have put a great shift in over two days. and the feeling in the dressing room from leaving Bishop Auckland to now after this victory is something which they have got to remember.

“They have got to make sure they get it every single time they go out on the field because there is no better feeling than winning, nor the momentum which they will take going into games to come and it’s amazing what an all hands on deck performance at Shildon gave us going into today.

“We looked sluggish and a bit lethargic, but rightly so because of the effort they put in at Shildon, and I was never going to knock them for that.

“We asked them to show that little bit of composure and quality and as the game grew on we got that better.

“It has been our motto the last two or three weeks that if we play for 45 minutes we get beat; if we play 90 minutes we win; if we get in front in games we don’t get beat and we have proved that.

“It was a good header by James Harmison to put Tony Stephenson through but he still had a lot to do before he scored, and that will have done his confidence the world of good.

“Tony has been in and out, carrying injuries but at centre forward has got himself two goals in two games and that’s good to see.

“We have got to make sure we keep winning games - but more importantly get our best team on the pitch every time without picking up injuries.”