Middleton calls on more professionalism from his Ashington team

Ashington FC manager Gary Middleton has called for more professionalism’ from his squad in the wake of their 3-2 defeat against high flying North Shields at the Daren Persson Stadium last midweek.

The Colliers made a terrific start to the contest against a Robins side who were defending an unbeaten home run and were 2-0 up inside 17 minutes through two goals from midfielder Kyle Oliver.

But on the half hour the key turning point arrived as Tony Stephenson was upended in the area and ex-Colliers keeper Chris Bannon comfortably held Oliver’s effort from the penalty spot as the ex-Middlesborough player attempted to complete his hat-trick.

And the miss prompted Woodhorn Lane boss Middleton to declare that there will be no repeat in the future.

“We have got senior players in the team and a crucial decision was made allowing someone who was on a hat-trick to take a spot kick when our captain and penalty taker (Andrew Johnson) has got to take it.

“It was the crucial turning point of the game and that situation will never happen again.

“The designated taker will step forward whether someone is on two goals or five goals.

“My assistant Perry Briggs and myself are 70 yards away from the action and people have got to take responsibility.

“There was a long, long way to go in the game and if we had scored from the penalty then you are looking at a different game at 3-0.

“We have got to learn from this and be more professional.”

Middleton, who thought his side played well in the first period, also cited ill discipline as being a factor after the break as the Shieldsmen stormed back to win the Ebac Northern League first division derby with goals from former Ashington striker Gareth Bainbridge (penalty), sub Denver Morris and Curtis Coppen.

“I thought we played some neat football against a very good North Shields team who are playing well and who are high on confidence,” said Middleton.

“They are very pacy in attack but my side showed a lot of ill discipline as in individuals doing the opposite of what they had been told to do in the changing rooms.

“And unless they start to learn quickly from their mistakes and take on board information which has been given out, then it’s going to be a long tough season.”

He added: “We never got going in the second half because we were on the back foot from the first minute.

“We told the players certain things and from the off they haven’t carried them out.”

Meanwhile Ashington have been pitched in an away tie against Bishop Auckland in the third round of the Brooks Mileson Memorial League Cup.

Middleton gave his reaction when he said: “It’s not the greatest of draws. We had a good win against them at the start of the season but it’s always a hard place to go too and a hard nut to crack.

“They are having a good season at present and it’ll be a difficult one, but we know if we can go out and perform to what we are capable of then we will have a good chance of going through.”