By Brian Bennett
Ashington FC skipper Ben Harmison admitted that the Colliers had to dig deep before collecting all three points – as well as a season’s double – over Northallerton Town at The Calvert Stadium on Saturday.
Striker Dan Maguire scored the all important goal during the first half as the Wansbeck side – who had won 3-1 against the North Yorkshire outfit at Woodhorn Lane at the beginning of August – took maximum points.
Harmison said: “After the run we have had in the Emirates FA Cup, its difficult chasing games but that’s now four league wins on the bounce. We had a long travel and Northallerton played well and made it really hard for us today. We had to grind it out and although we were a bit sloppy, we didn’t really look like conceding. When it gets to this time of the year when pitches cut up, I’d quite happily not play very well but get three points.”
He continued: “We will continue to take things game by game but we are probably getting to the stage now where we need to look after players who have a few niggles. We have got lads on their way back to fitness including Paul Robinson, Dean Briggs and Robbie Dale but it’s good that we’re without a fixture in midweek.”
Harmison began Saturday’s match at the heart of the defence alongside Ryan McKinnon but was moved upfront following an early injury to Lee Mason before returning to a defensive role in the closing stages: “Lee (Mason) was carrying a niggle and came off so I went up top,” he said, “However, towards the end, Northallerton were pushing quite hard so we made our defensive unit as compact as we could although I didn’t think they looked like scoring. They pushed and pushed but we defended well and we were quite happy to absorb the pressure. We probably should have nicked another couple of goals ourselves and even if our performance was a bit sloppy, it was ‘job done’. That’s all we said in the dressing room afterwards – we didn’t complicate anything – and we now look forward to Saturday’s clash against West Allotment Celtic.”
Harmison – joint top goal scorer alongside Lee Mason with ten goals – joked: “The boss is ruining my chances of getting the golden boot at the end of the season by putting me back to centre half! However, we have got strength in depth and I’m not bothered where I play – I’m just happy to contribute as much as I can.”