Midfielder Antony returns to Ashington FC

Paul Antony has signed for Ashington for a second time. Picture by Ian Appleby
Paul Antony has signed for Ashington for a second time. Picture by Ian Appleby

Midfield playmaker Paul Antony made a return to Ashington last week and said he regretted his decision to leave the Woodhorn Lane outfit over three years ago.

London-born Antony previously played for the Colliers during the 2012-13 season when Gary Middleton was in charge.

The 34-year-old’s farewell appearance was one to remember, the 3-0 victory against Whitley Bay in the final of the Northumberland Senior Cup at St James’ Park.

After that, Wallsend-based Antony had a near three-year period as player coach at Team Northumbria before joining Heaton Stannington at the start of this campaign.

Now he said he is thrilled to be back, and he came on as a substitute in the 2-0 FA Vase defeat at Easington Colliery on Saturday.

“Looking back, I regretted moving on, I should never have left,” he said.

“My last game was the Northumberland Senior Cup final win, which was a great memory, and I’m delighted to be back.”

Antony was ‘disappointed’ after the Colliers bowed out at the second qualifying hurdle on Saturday at Easington.

“It was one of those games where you pretty much have all of the possession, create an abundance of not just half chances but some really good ‘sitter’ opportunities and they have scored from two goals which they didn’t even create, to be honest.”

Ashington boss Steve Harmison said: “I’ve seen Paul play a lot, first of all when he was previously at Ashington, then at Team Northumbria.

“We were looking for one more [player] in the midfield area, someone who can get the ball down and play, because sometimes we are getting a bit predictable, and we saw Paul as that person, someone who has got good quality on the ball.

“We have lost Scott Blandford through injury but Paul is different to Scott.

“We needed options in that middle of the field area and that’s what we see in Paul.

“He’s no stranger and knows what Ashington is all about, so it shouldn’t take him too long to settle in.”

Antony cannot wait for Tuesday night’s Ebac Northern League first division clash at Woodhorn Lane against Newcastle Benfield, another of his former outfits.

“I’ve got some good pals there, like goalkeeper Andy Grainger,” he said.

“I’m also looking forward to playing in front of the new stand and also because I’ve heard the pitch is beautiful, so happy days.

“As a squad we just need to pick ourselves up after the disappointment of going out of the FA Vase and make sure we put it right.”