Middleton hails superb performance from Ashington

A delighted Lee Scott watches on as the ball rolls into the net to make it 3-0 to Ashington against Dunston UTS. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com
A delighted Lee Scott watches on as the ball rolls into the net to make it 3-0 to Ashington against Dunston UTS. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com

Boss Gary Middleton wore a broad smile after seeing his Ashington side run out convincing 4-0 winners over Dunston UTS at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday.

And he paid his outfit the ultimate compliment following the comprehensive win.

“I thought it was a superb performance from start to finish,” he said.

“There are not many teams who beat Dunston by a four-nil margin, no matter what team they field.

“They did have a strong team out, but we really made an impact on the game.”

Middleton was happy first half.

“There wasn’t an awful lot in it in the first period,” he said.

“It was a good finish from Andrew Johnson which put us ahead as he has nipped in to score following a long throw.

“Obviously the second goal was a mistake by the Dunston goalkeeper, but Glen Taylor still had a bit of work to do and I thought he finished it off well from 22 yards.

“On top of that, it came right on half-time, which is a great time to score.”

Middleton emphasised to his players in the dressing room during the interval that the game was far from finished.

He added: “We said at half-time that the game was definitely not over with the way Dunston were playing.

“They were very direct, playing the ball into the lad Daniel Wilson, and they also had movement off Andrew Bulford and are very strong throughout their midfield.

“We also knew the strong wind was going to play a part and it was going to be hard to defend.

“But give the lads their due, I thought, the way they stuck in during the second half where we won our headers and second balls was very commendable, and we out-competed Dunston during the second 45 minutes, which doesn’t happen very often.

“We scored the third goal from Lee Scott after a great move between Andrew Johnson and Glen Taylor then got the fourth right on full-time.”

Another pleasing aspect for Middleton was Ashington’s fitness levels.

“The lads have had a hard week,” he said.

“They used a lot of energy up on Tuesday in the Senior Cup replay defeat against Blyth Spartans without getting what I thought they deserved.

“We then looked deflated and had a lack of energy in the first half against Team Northumbria, and the substitutions have worked wonders as we won 3-1.

“Today we have had to look at the squad and make a few changes to freshen things up.

“We left Kyle Downey out at Team North and have done the same this afternoon with Kyle Oliver to share the workload.

“We have also got lads cup tied for Tuesday’s quarter-final at Tow Law, and have had to box clever.

“I couldn’t have asked any more of the squad than to come out of the game winning 4-0 against Dunston and I have just said to the lads, I am over the moon with the performances this past week.”

Middleton outlined that following the Blyth game and with the Tow Law fixture looming this week, his squad may have lacked interest in the two league games sandwiched in between.

“After Tuesday at Blyth, it would have been so easy for the lads to look ahead to the quarter-final at Tow Law and basically go through the motions of the league games against Team North and Dunston,” he said.

“But we demand more than that at this club and the players have certainly excelled themselves – especially with what was a great team and squad performance against Dunston.”