Steve Harmison ‘tired of saying same things’ to Ashington players

Ashington FC's James Taylor. Picture by Gary Welford
Ashington FC's James Taylor. Picture by Gary Welford

Ashington FC manager Steve Harmison berated his players after an horrendous start to the game against Consett on Tuesday night culminated in a 2-1 defeat.

Harmison said: “It’s frustrating because I’m tired of saying the same things in the dressing room.

“Quite simply you cannot keep giving the opposition two-goal starts. It’s now February and I am trotting the same line out as I have done all season.

“The way we are beginning games is becoming beyond a worry because like against Newcastle Benfield, we go two-nil down tonight.

“You can make any excuse you want, but it comes down to the mental application at the start of a football match.

“Do we think we are better than we are and do we think we just got a given right to go on the field and get a result, because that doesn’t happen in the Northern League.”

He continued: “It was a nothing game for 70 minutes because it was lost on our behalf in the first 20 minutes and that is a harsh reality.

“We had won our last two matches but tonight against a team in and around us, Consett’s movement and getting the first, second and third balls has cost us the game.

“Even if we had turned it around and won, people would have said it was a great test of character to come back but I’d argue that.

“I’d argue against any character that comes back after giving two goals away and thinks they have a good test of character to come back - because a good test of character starts the game well, controls it and wins it.

“Tonight we didn’t deserve to get anything out of the match and the players can’t feel sorry for themselves.

“We are not looking for excuses but the lads have got to stick together.

“There are some good players in the dressing room but they have got to believe that and at the moment there is not much belief in there.

“The hunger and the desire comes from the belief and when that happens, we will go forward.

“We are always playing catch up. You may do it once or twice a season but when it is happening every week, you have got no chance.”

Harmison said his decision to include James Taylor in the starting 11 was one he had to make, even though the player did not last 30 minutes.

He said: “Our hands were forced in selection. I hold my hand up but I still back what I did at the start of the game.

“With Kyle Oliver’s imminent suspension, James Taylor had to play tonight because of next Wednesday’s Northumberland Senior Cup clash at North Shields.

“The lad has been out for a year and it was always going to be a big ask to get him any sort of football.

“He got 27 minutes and we had to take him off, but that’s fine because I was pleased we got him onto the field which is a positive.

“Getting him up to speed is another matter but we had to make a judgement call on that from a selection point of view.”

For Saturday’s league clash against Guisborough on Teesside, Josh Gray returns to the squad but Dylan Williamson is out through injury and Oliver suspended.

Fitness tests will be run on Andrew Bulford, Michael Dixon and Taylor.