By Brian Bennett
Ashington FC joint manager Steve Harmison was furious with his outfit after they had crashed out of the FA Cup on Saturday with a 4-0 reverse against fellow Ebac Northern League first division side Sunderland RCA.
Harmison was ‘disappointed’ on several fronts and said that the manner of the performance was inexcusable: “Standards were set high at the start of the season and you can make excuses – but excuses are for weak people,” he said, “Unfortunately I thought we were weak today and that’s a thing that disappoints me. We can say we played a hard game against Bishop Auckland on Wednesday night and the emotion and everything which came with it. Today was not about complacency. We played a side who know how to play in their own back garden; who understand the pitch they are playing on - and they worked harder and affected the game more than us. They were in a battle and we weren’t. I understand what I have got here - whilst I think Tom has got a little bit of an eye opener.” He continued: “It wasn’t back to last season - it was too many people off the pace and I thought we passed the buck a lot in the game and that’s another thing which disappointed me. The younger players on the pitch played the conditions better but the work rate wasn’t up to the standard which we expect. I do believe it was an off day – we cannot collectively play as badly again as that - but on the other hand it’s a day which we cannot have again. It’s also a day where we don’t learn anything – you put it to bed and move on to the next one. But you make sure the next time that you are switched on and ready.” He went on: “Ben Sampson, Jay Hornsby and Callum Johnston are learning the game no problem – but there are players who should know better. We have asked a lot of the older players over the last few weeks but Craig Scott wasn’t quite ready to play as he was still a bit sore so we couldn’t freshen things that much. However the way we performed was inexcusable but I’m really disappointed about how frustrated I feel at this moment in time.” He added: “They [Sunderland RCA] worked hard and played the conditions to the best they possibly could. Take nothing away from them because they deserved the win being miles better than us. It was baffling how much we crumbled and that’s a worry but it was the manner of our defeat which disappoints us. However we will regroup and make sure we are ready for the home clash against Washington on Saturday.” Craig Scott and Luke Salmon come back into the reckoning but Shaun Bell and Ryan Bell remain sidelined.