Middleton believes Ashington were worthy winners

Andrew Johnson taps in the rebound for Ashington's fourth in injury time against Norton & Stockton. Picture by Ian Appleby
Andrew Johnson taps in the rebound for Ashington's fourth in injury time against Norton & Stockton. Picture by Ian Appleby
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Ashington manager Gary Middleton thought his side did enough to warrant all three points after their 4-1 win on Saturday over basement side Norton & Stockton Ancients.

The boss said: “We’ve controlled the game and to be fair it should have been a lot more because we missed some good chances.

“I don’t think the quality was particularly good all over the pitch, but we’ve done enough and it was a win.

“It was a difficult day because we were up against a team who were already relegated.

“They had nothing to lose and to be fair to them they have come and had a right go and played some terrific football for a team who have gone down.”

Middleton, who was upbeat after the 0-0 draw against Spennymoor on the Thursday, had asked for a similar showing from his outfit on Saturday.

“We’ve had a terrific display on Thursday night against Spennymoor and I was thrilled to bits for the lads,” he said.

“We patted people on the back and needed much of the same to despatch of Norton as quickly as possible, but unfortunately it didn’t work out like that.

“It took us a while to get into the game, and although we went a goal up they got what they deserved in the first half with an equaliser, which was disappointing for us.”

Middleton was looking to cement a good victory with Ashington’s next match being the Northumberland Senior Cup final against Whitley Bay at St James’ Park on Wednesday.

He added: “I was frustrated with our performance because it was as if we were cruising through the game, which is exactly what I didn’t want,.

“I was looking for a victory to take us into Wednesday’s Senior Cup final with confidence high, and after we lacked a little bit of quality in the final third in the first 45 minutes, we said at half-time that we needed to put the ball into the box and ask questions of Norton.

“Within five minutes we’ve done that with Glen Taylor heading us back into the lead, and then we’ve missed further opportunities – but nevertheless we are over the moon that we have won.”

With keeper Karl Dryden losing his previous ever present tag as he was unavailable, Middleton handed a debut to Craig Towart – a regular for David Brown’s Ashington Colliers side – and the newcomer came in for glowing praise from the boss.

“Craig has done terrific this afternoon,” said Middleton.

“His kicking was outstanding; his handling and distribution were also good and he made a couple of good saves into the bargain, so I’m pleased for him and I have told him so.

“James Taylor’s goal was well deserved too, and in the end the quality came through from my side.”