Middleton pleased despite side not firing on all cylinders

Ashington's Glen Taylor runs at the Billingham Town defence. Picture by Ian Appleby
Ashington's Glen Taylor runs at the Billingham Town defence. Picture by Ian Appleby
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Ashington boss Gary Middleton was cock-a-hoop after his side extended their unbeaten run to four matches with a 3-1 win – and season’s double – over Billingham Town at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday.

The boss admitted that his side were far from perfect, but he was nevertheless delighted with the three points.

“We didn’t fire on all cylinders and whilst it wasn’t one of our best performances, it didn’t need to be so long as we won the game,” he said.

Middleton, who the previous week had given his wafer thin squad a massive pat on the back following a 2-1 derby victory over neighbours Whitley Bay, echoed the same thoughts.

“I’ve got to pay tribute once again to the lads because some have played out of position and some have played more minutes than we wanted them to play,” he said.

“We had a 17-year- old (Dean Briggs) and two 19-year-olds (Lance McGlen and Sam Norris) on the pitch, and I think the lads have done terrific.

“It was one of those games today where we tried to emphasise to the players that although we had put eight past them recently, we didn’t think it would be as easy this time round.

“It’s a mentality thing when you play teams twice in a short period of time and it can quite easily become a banana skin.

“They were very solid and stern in defence when they didn’t have the ball and they made it difficult for us to break them down.”

Goalscorers Marc Walton, Dean Briggs and Glen Taylor earned top marks from Middleton.

He added: “We had lots of possession without capitalising, but then it was a great free kick by Marc (Walton) to put us in front, and we said at half-time that it was important that we got the next goal which we did.

“It was a good move too and Dean has finished it off with an excellent finish from the edge of the box.

“We were comfortable but we have conceded and we just needed that third goal to give us a cushion.

“Glen’s exquisite finish for his goal was not too dissimilar to his strike against Consett four days earlier where he has put it into the bottom corner.

“I thought Glen Taylor was outstanding; Dean Briggs did well on his full debut and Lance McGlen and Craig Scott commanded the back four.

“Scott Blandford came in today for his first start after being out for a year and put a good shift in, whilst you cannot ask for any more from your players like full back Lee Scott who are honest and who give it their best shot.

“All in all, I’m really happy because there are no easy games in this league – and it is pleasing that we have got another game out of the way with three points.”

Meanwhile Middleton revealed that he is hopeful of making a couple of additions to his squad this week.