Spartans praised by near neighbours Ashington

Ashington FC chairman Ian Lavery and manager Gary Middleton joined a growing band paying tribute to FA Cup giant killers and neighbours Blyth Spartans following their 2-1 victory over Hartlepool United in the second round of the competition.

Middleton, who wore Blyth’s colours during his playing career and who recently saw his Colliers outfit comprehensively brushed aside by the Croft Park outfit in a 3-0 defeat in the Techflow Group Northumberland Senior Cup quarter-final, said: “It was a superb performance by Spartans on Friday night and I thought they thoroughly deserved the victory over the 90 minutes.

“They were overpowered for the opening 20 minutes, probably through nerves, but they then got themselves into the game and there was only one team on for the last three quarters of the game.

“I wish manager Tom Wade and his playing squad all the best for the next round.”

And Middleton praised Blyth’s equaliser scored by Stephen Turnbull.

“I took free kicks during my time as a midfielder, but none better than Turnbull’s effort,” he said.

“I think you could have put a Premiership keeper in goal and even he wouldn’t have saved it.

“And if the strike had been scored by Wayne Rooney or Cristiano Ronaldo, they would be talking about it for weeks and years to come.”

Woodhorn Lane chairman Ian Lavery added his congratulations when he said: “I’m delighted for Blyth Spartans – for the players, management and the board and the people of Blyth themselves.

“It’s always exciting to see our local teams progress in this fashion and may I wish them the very best of luck in the next round.”