Middleton praises team’s fantastic effort

Ashington manager Gary Middleton heaped enormous praise on his players following Friday night’s 4-3 victory over Penrith in Cumbria.

“What a week this has been,” he enthused.

“After Wednesday’s exploits when we won our first piece of silverware by defeating Whitley Bay to lift the Northumberland Senior Cup, it was very difficult for us to come to Penrith 48 hours later on a Friday night and face a team that unbeaten in 11 matches, were obviously a useful side.

“But I thought we played some great football in the conditions and the energy levels from the lads were unbelievable.

“We’ve gone three-nil up with some outstanding goals – they were all top quality – then to be fair Penrith, who never stopped all night, pulled it back to 3-2 and I can fully understand how they have been on a good run.

“Marc (Walton) got our fourth and when they scored right at the death, it made for a tight last five minutes.”

Middleton, who had set his side a target of four points from the remaining two games, asked his players for a ‘performance’ on the back of their cup success.

“It’s always a tough place to come too, and in truth, it is a ground where in the past we haven’t done particularly well,” he said.

“We certainly didn’t want an after the Lord Mayor’s show display – all we asked from the lads was for a performance – and we got one.

“I said to them ‘if we can get four points out of the last two games I will be well happy’, especially after winning the Northumberland Senior Cup, but we’ve taken all three tonight and we’ll be looking to go to Norton and end our season with a victory.”

He added: “It was a fantastic and unbelievable result tonight coupled to the performance and I cannot speak highly enough of the lads.”