By Brian Bennett | Photo: Ian Brodie

Ashington got their pre season programme underway with a 5-2 win over AFC Newbiggin on Tuesday night.

The game was staged at the Newbiggin Sports and Community Hub and afterwards, joint head coach Andy Coyles said: “It was a good work out for the boys. Obviously we had in the region of 22-23 lads available to us tonight and it’s very important that they all get minutes in the tank. We know some lads are going to be missing due to holidays so they need to pick up ample game time to get them up to full speed for the beginning of the new campaign. As a first pre season game, it was a great place to start (at Newbiggin). We had some really good performances especially from the new lads and we are happy with our progress.”

He continued: “This is week three out of eight and we have seven other friendlies to go – and as we progress we will be upping the intensity levels. Lads will be picking up more game time and obviously we need to make sure that we are sharper and more clinical. We scored a few goals tonight and could have had more but we need to improve at the other end of the pitch because we were very disappointed with the two goals which we conceded.”

In front of a crowd of 171, Ashington moved into a 2-0 lead with Connor Thomson on target on both occasions before the hosts got back on terms after goals in quick succession from James Cooper and Michael Johnson.

Early doors after the break, Ben Sampson and Craig Spooner put Ashington into a 4-2 lead before goal number five came in the 73rd minute from a trialist.

Meanwhile Coyles, who along with Richie Hill, took over the reins from Ian Skinner, reflected on their first few months in the post. The pair – who are based in Richmond and Darlington respectively – have added Gary Ormston, Jamie Tunstall and Lee Barrass onto the management team and Coyles said: “We’re enjoying it. We love being at Ashington and love the family feel and the family environment – and the supporters have been amazing. We’ve been receiving lovely messages on a weekly basis from some of the fans on social media and we really appreciate their comments. For Richie, Jamie and myself, it’s a 120 miles round trip every time we come to Wansbeck but we do it for Ashington FC; the supporters and the local community.”

Ashington’s next warm up game takes them to face West Auckland on Saturday (July 6) where kick-off is 1.30pm.