ASHINGTON boss Gary Middleton was delighted with his outfit after they had secured a 2-0 victory against North Shields on Tuesday night which propelled them into the final of the Northumberland Senior Cup.
The Colliers secured a date with fellow Ebac Northern League first division side Whitley Bay in the final to be played at Newcastle United’s St James’ Park.
Middleton said: “It was always going to be a difficult game because North Shields are a good footballing team and their manager Graham Fenton has got a good side who are fighting for promotion.
“We started against the wind and it was tough conditions out there tonight, but although Shields played well with some good football, we were always in the game first half.
“It was a great delivery from Andrew Johnson and a superb header at the near post by Glen Taylor which saw us take the lead just before half-time, which is always a good time to score.”
Middleton and his backroom staff were looking for more of the same after the break.
“We said to the lads at the interval that we wanted them to continue playing the way they had done but to make it a bit more compact in midfield,” he said.
“I thought Marc Walton and Glen Taylor did ever so well with their hold up play, where they brought in other players, which was as good as it has been for a long time.
“Then it was a superb run and finish from Johnson for the second goal – and to be fair he threatened that again later in the game – and two pieces of real high quality has won us the tie.”
The Colliers boss was full of praise at the way his side snuffed out the danger from the Shieldsmen.
“After we went two-nil up I was really impressed with the way we managed the game,” he said.
“We have been guilty – and I have been guilty of criticising us this season – when we have gone in front and lost leads.
“And whilst Shields never stopped going, I thought we were very professional for the last 30 minutes, which was really pleasing.
“Robbie Nolan threatened first half but Shields never had a chance second half, and I think that is testimony to us.
“With the conditions and a bit of a tweak in the way we played, I thought we were worthy winners on the night.”