UPBEAT Ashington manager Gary Middleton described striker Marc Walton as being “different class” – as he waxed lyrical about the manner in which his side swept Marske United aside on Saturday to make progress into the first qualifying round of the FA Cup.
The reward for the Colliers, who netted £1,750 for their victory on Teesside, is a tie against West Auckland at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday, September 8.
Middleton said: “It was another fantastic result. We had Marske watched during the week against Darlington 1883 and we knew they were a typical Northern League team who would keep coming at us.
“In strikers Danny Brunskill and David Onions they had two strikers who were both physical and difficult opponents, who could pose a threat up top, which they proved.”
However, the boss was oozing about his side’s performance, which came four days after a 3-1 triumph over Whitley Bay at Hillheads.
“I was thrilled to bits with our performance,” he added.
“But it was the manner in which we won which gave me the most pleasure.
“The lads were fluent and turned in high tempo performances going forward with the ball, which has been really promising and exciting and difficult to play against.
“Then we’ve dug in and had to defend at periods.
“But this latest victory comes at the end of a great week for us.
“It was a fantastic hat-trick from Marc Walton amongst some big performances, and it was certainly difficult to select a man of the match in a collective team showing.”
Middleton’s side took an early lead – only to concede within two minutes.
“It was a great start but then we got caught by the two lads up top and I felt we didn’t deal with them particularly well in the first half so the message was to nip things up a bit,” he added.
“I was disappointed with the goal we conceded but after that we played some cracking football and carved them open.
“The game was still very open at the break and we wanted the next goal so as to give us some breathing space.
“The lads were fantastic in the second half with their energy and pace as Marske struggled to keep with us, and the fourth goal took the sting out of the game.”
Middleton then lavished praise on striker Walton.
“Marc is different class; pure class,” he said.
“It is a bonus when players can finish like he did, and naturally I was thrilled to bits.
“However, Andrew Johnson, who has just returned from holiday, was energetic for the whole of the 90 minutes and both Louis Storey and Callum Little contributed in what I would describe as being a proper team performance without a doubt.”