Plenty of positive for Middleton in Aycliffe win

Andrew Johnson heads home his second goal against Newton Aycliffe. Picture by Ian Appleby
Andrew Johnson heads home his second goal against Newton Aycliffe. Picture by Ian Appleby

Ashington CFC manager Gary Middleton waxed lyrical about his playing squad, with plenty of positives coming out of Saturday’s comfortable 4-0 victory over Newton Aycliffe at Woodhorn Lane.

A delighted Middleton said: “We wore them down and we showed better quality in the final third for the last three goals, and in the end it could have been a few more.

“Once again it was another great performance and a clean sheet.

“To win was the important thing but it was very much a team effort – and I think that shone through today

“There were lots and lots of good, steady performances, which is what you need in this league, and loads of positives out there.”

After a good start, the boss was left disappointed before a stroke of luck brought about the opener.

He added: “I thought we started the game well. For the first 15 minutes we were bright and busy and carved Newton Aycliffe open on two or three occasions but didn’t finish the play off.

“Then I thought we took our foot off the pedal for the last 25 minutes and they came back into the game.

“Our tempo had slowed down and we played more to their tempo and how they wanted to play.

“They created two or three half chances and then we got the goal, which was fortunate, stemming from the miskick from Sam Norris, but Marc (Walton) was in the right place at the right time to put the ball into the back of the net.”

During the interval, Middleton urged his side to up the tempo again.

“We came in at half-time and had a chat and I told them we needed to increase the tempo and to pass the ball better, but at the same time to defend how we had done of late,” he said.

“We knew Aycliffe had threats in there team – the top two are always a danger – but I thought the lads carried out our advice in the second half and we improved as the game went on.”

The boss was happy with his new recruits but admitted that his assistant Perry Briggs and himself had faced some ‘tough decisions’ before kick-off:

“What was pleasing today was Ben Christensen looked composed and was a leader and helped the younger players at the back whilst Darren Lough was real quality out there,” he said.

“However, it was really difficult today with Perry and myself having to make some really tough decisions over the team selection.”

Middleton praised skipper Andrew Johnson and Kyle Oliver.

He said: “I thought Andrew Johnson’s hat-trick was terrific, which went hand in hand with his quality leadership.

“And being able to move Kyle Oliver back into the middle of the park gave us energy; he screens a lot off as he is a defensive midfielder but he also has quality going forward.”