Morpeth boss completes his most ‘difficult week in management’

Ashington keeper Karl Dryden dives to his right to deny Morpeth taking a first half lead. Picture by Ian Appleby
Ashington keeper Karl Dryden dives to his right to deny Morpeth taking a first half lead. Picture by Ian Appleby

Morpeth Town manager Nicky Gray was delighted with the point his side took from the goal less draw against Ashington at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday.

Now he is hoping the deserved reward with help them in their bid to escape the drop from the top flight of the Ebac Northern League come the end of the season.

The boss revealed that in over six years of management, the past week had proved to be his severest test.

This followed a controversial defeat in the FA Vase at Eastbourne the previous weekend.

“We were delighted with a point at Ashington,” said Gray.

“But without doubt, this has been my toughest week in more than six years in football management because it has been a difficult one to take.

“All the lads put a lot of effort into our FA Vase game at Eastbourne and our exit was hard to swallow – certainly it has taken a lot out of us all, to be fair.”

“Last Wednesday at Bedlington, the players did great – we just did not win the game and today was exactly the same with both teams applying themselves really well.”

Gray singled out three players including former Ashington servant Paul Dunn, who is based in Wansbeck, for praise.

“We did set a game plan up which I thought worked quite well and the lads have put a shift in,” he said.

“I’m delighted for lads who have come back to the club like Chris Jewels, Steven Mundy and Paul Dunn, the latter whom I thought was exceptional.

“Paul wears his heart on his sleeve and his character shines through.”

Gray – in similar post-match mode to his counterpart at Ashington, Gary Middleton – thought there was little to choose between both outfits.

“First half I thought we looked quite comfortable in general play,” he said.

“My worry was that we looked vulnerable from Ashington set pieces, which was there biggest threat, and goalkeeper Steven Mundy has made a great save from an Andrew Johnson free kick.

“It was a good contest on a difficult surface between two similar teams with everyone playing their part but with no one outstanding.

“And it was one of those games where with 20 minutes to go it crosses your mind whether to stick or twist.

“However, it is nice to come to Ashington and get some reward – hopefully it will be a precious point towards survival, which is now our main aim.”