By Brian Bennett
Ashington FC manager Steve Harmison was delighted he got a response to his call of a massive improvement from his playing staff but disappointed that they only came out of their Ebac Northern League first division clash against neighbours Whitley Bay with a 1-1 draw on Tuesday night. Ben Harmison and Ryan McGorrigan had chances inside the first three minutes for the Colliers and when Callum Patton edged Whitley in front in the 21st minute then Harmison hit the post, it began to look as if it was going to be one of those nights. However in a game which flowed from end to end, it was Harmison who headed home the equaliser five minutes before the interval. Afterwards Steve Harmison said: “After our abject performance against West Allotment Celtic then things being said and done in the last ten days, it was more of a positive performance from the lads but we have only taken one point from the game and I was disappointed. I thought we probably shaded it – Whitley Bay might say they did too – but we had more chances and their keeper [Thomas Flynn] has pulled off three great saves - two which were unbelievable and one which you expect your stopper to save.” He continued: “We built up okay but again put ourselves under pressure. We made elementary mistakes which put us on the back foot, taking chances in areas where we maybes need to play percentage on pitches which are deteriorating a little bit. All in all the workrate and energy was good after not playing for a while but we are a side massively lacking in confidence with the communication a bit low and flat.” He went on: “I thought we were very, very good for the first 20-25 minutes but then we went to sleep for the Bay goal. We didn’t anticipate very well or switch on to the second phase of play which made it a disappointing goal to concede from our point of view. All of a sudden we are on the back foot and when we hit the post you think it is not going to happen especially the way our season is going. But we got an equaliser at a good time. Second half we huffed and puffed again and had chances although both teams had one which went right across the goal. To gain only one point was the disappointing aspect but from where we were against West Allotment Celtic, this was a massive improvement against a team who are doing okay in the Northern League to be fair.” For Saturday’s trip to face Dunston UTS, Dale Pearson returns to the squad but no fewer than six players – Jonathan Tiffoney, James Harmison, Kyle Downey, Shaun Bell, Ben Christensen and Craig Scott - will have fitness tests before the 3pm kick-off.