Middleton welcomes hard fought three points

ASHINGTON CFC manager Gary Middleton – thrilled as his side ended a run of four consecutive draws with two wins inside five days – admitted that both results came after hard fought encounters.

The boss saw his outfit jump to eighth place in the Ebac Northern League first division following Saturday’s 2-0 win at Newcastle Benfield.

“I thought we started off lively and looked dangerous but our final ball let us down in the first half,” he said.

“We took the lead but to be fair to Benfield, they never stopped and they have created two or three chances in the first half.

“I thought we were good value for our 1-0 lead at half-time, but I was a bit concerned about the danger posed by Sam Norris on the right hand side so we changed things slightly in the second period and brought Darren Lough on.

“It was even – I didn’t think they were too much of a threat to us but I thought the combination of Glen Taylor and Andrew Johnson looked very lively and the latter has scored a fantastic free kick.

“Overall, it was a hard fought three points against a very workmanlike Benfield team.”

Middleton was pleased after two gruelling games on stamina sapping pitches.

He added: “We’ve had two hard games in the space of five days on heavy surfaces which take their toll on the players and they have been against two teams who are scrapping for their lives at the wrong end of the league and who are going to keep coming at you.

“Once again I was happy with a clean sheet on Saturday and very pleased with the side right the way through – the lads that started the game and the three who have come on as substitutes.

“Every one of them played their part and I think that’s what it is all about at this stage of the season. I cannot fault them for their efforts.”