Middleton’s satisfaction tinged with disappointment

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ASHINGTON CFC manager Gary Middleton was delighted with his side’s opening day 1-1 draw against Norton & Stockton Ancients.

But his delight was tinged with a slight disappointment as chances to win the contest were missed in the dying minutes.

Middleton said : “Overall I was happy – it was a good point from our first game of the season against a well organised and good outfit in Norton.

“We would have taken a point at 3pm, to be fair, but as the game has panned out, we could have pinched it at the end.

“It’s a case of taking your chances when they come along, and on that note I was a little bit disappointed, but nevertheless quite happy with a point.

“I thought the first half it took us a while to get going.

“It was an edgy first 20 minutes before we took control and then we played some really good football with a 3-5-2 formation.

“As the first half progressed I thought we looked more comfortable and could have gone in more than one goal up.”

However, the Colliers’ boss acknowledged the home side’s second half contribution to the game.

He added: “To be fair to Norton, in the second half they have come out and thrown everything at us.

“I thought we showed a lot of character, we dug in without Norton causing us too many problems, but we didn’t do an awful lot at the other end either.

“However, we could have done a smash and grab with the chances we had at the end.”

Middleton was more than happy with the performances from three of his newcomers, Craig Scott, Matthew Grieve and Andy Dugdale, and also gave mention to Stephen Young and Jonny Godsmark.

“I thought the back three (Scott, Grieve and Gareth Rees) looked very good throughout the game, and Dugdale brings an awful lot more to the team than what people see – he talks the right vibe in the changing rooms and on the pitch,” he said.

“The work rate from striker Stephen Young was outstanding and we talked about getting Jonny Godsmark into the game more often because every time we did, they feared him.

“We just didn’t do that enough in the second half which was a bit disappointing, but there again, I think you’ve got to give credit to Norton.”