ASHINGTON CFC manager Gary Middleton’s words of wisdom at half-time resulted in a 2-0 victory over Team Northumbria at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday.
Middleton had asked his squad to pick up the pace and tempo – and in an improved performance, the Colliers were full value for their victory which consequently hoisted them up to sixth place in the Ebac Northern League’s first division.
Middleton, pictured, said: “I thought the first half was very even and was played out by two teams who wanted to play football.
“There wasn’t much in it but I just thought over the 45 minutes it looked as if we could raise our game at any time.
“That’s the message I gave to the players at half-time as we were in second gear a bit in the first half, and I thought that if we just picked the tempo and pace up of the game, we would cause them problems.” Middleton’s squad heeded the advice with Andrew Johnson being singled out for special praise.
“Second half, we came out and I thought the players responded to what had been said without us being at our best,” added Middleton.
“I thought the performance of Johnson at times in the second half was outstanding – he really hurt them.
“Then once we got the goal from Paul Antony, which was typical of the game, we looked in real command.
“We also created numerous chances during the second 45 minutes without really punishing them, but it’s a nice situation where we are creating them.”
Middleton described the win as being a “professional workmanlike performance” and he was equally delighted that his side kept a clean sheet for the first time this season.
He added: “Team Northumbria are a good footballing side and I thought at times we made them look average.
“What I said to the players before the game was that it would be nice to get a clean sheet because if we can do that then we will win games of football as we have got goals in our side.
“So that was the most pleasing point for me, that we got through without conceding, because it’s not just all about scoring goals, you’ve got to defend as a team.
“That’s what I asked of them and I thought they did that well.”
As for his own health after having contacted viral meningitis, Middleton said: “I’m still on the road to recovery and taking it game by game.”