Harmison’s formation change brings success with FA Cup win

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

Steve Harmison gave his players a massive pat on the back following a superb 3-2 victory over Albion Sports in their Emirates FA Cup replay at Throstle Nest on Wednesday night.

The boss described it as a fantastic win.

He said: “Over the 180 minutes, I think supporters have witnessed two good games of football in terms of entertainment.

“We missed chances at Ashington and to be honest Albion missed opportunities in this replay.

“However, I was dreading the possibility of extra time because we have got lads who are carrying injuries at this moment in time and it’s a tough ask for them to come down here midweek.”

He continued: “I thought we just shaded it, but fair play to both sides.

“We can still get better, but after two defeats and a draw in our opening three games, this win tells a lot about the character of my team.

“We are starting to feel the pinch of a tough opening schedule to the season.

“Ben Christenson played 90 minutes despite struggling with a swollen knee; James Harmison has been playing through the pain barrier for about three weeks now; Kyle Downey is another who is carrying an injury and we have lost Kyle Oliver who has a broken wrist.

“We had to change formation, which made us vulnerable in certain areas, but we did it for one reason to get Andrew Johnson in the game and for him to try and win the contest for us.

“That was exactly the game plan which was set up, to get Andrew free and he has made two and scored the winner.

“Tonight we’ve probably unearthed that centre forward we have been looking for because I thought Michael Bell was fantastic on his debut up front whilst Conor Grant was excellent and Paul Dunn, who hasn’t played a lot of football and got through 90 minutes, which was another plus point.

“However, the thing which pleased me most about tonight was that we had to change formation and we have won the game.”