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Jon McDonald on Ashington defeat.

Manager Jon McDonald has had his say on yesterday's Northern Premier League East defeat at Woodhorn Lane.

Dunston began the game slowly and found themselves on the backfoot after just nine minutes when Paul Van-Zandvliet fired Ashington into the lead.

"Mentality. The players know that there aren't any easy games at this level. The first half performance in its entirety was nowhere near that standard that is expected." McDonald said.

After conceding, Ashington looked the most likely to score again however, Jordan Lamb smashed home a David Robinson cross to get Dunston on level-terms heading into half-time. It was a slow start to the second half again as Ashington scored twice in the first ten minutes. Despite the two-man advantage for 25 minutes, Dunston failed to breakdown the Ashington backline, who held firm.

Now, for Jon McDonald, the Management Team, and the squad, it's all about how we react from yesterday's defeat heading into two big games in the space of three days. We visit Nantwich for an FA Trophy tie on Saturday, followed by a trip to Brighouse for a league fixture on the Monday - 630 miles in total.

"It's always important to bounce back after a defeat. We now focus on the next fixture, which is an FA Trophy game at Nantwich, who had a great result themselves yesterday in The FA Cup." McDonald added.

Despite the defeat yesterday, Dunston did have some positive to take out of yesterday's game. Young forward Jack Maskell, who recently signed a contract with the club until 2025, made a cameo off the bench - his first appearance since the opening day of the season after being out through injury.

Liam Thear also returned and came off the bench, making his 200th league appearance for the club. Thear's first outing since picking up an injury on July 11th against Whitley Bay in pre-season. On the bench, we also had Richard Coulson, who has also had a lengthy spell on the sidelines with an injury.

Left Back Chris McDonald and captain Michael Pearson also served their final games of their suspensions yesterday and will be available for selection going forwards.

"It's a massive boost. We've had a difficult period with long-term injuries to Jack Maskell, Dale Pearson, Scrappy and Ritchie Coulson.

"We've also been missing Chris McDonald and Michael Pearson through suspension. In addition, Craig Baxter was injured for yesterday too and Jack Elliott was unavailable. We are hopeful that for next week's games, we will have a full squad to choose from, which hasn't been the case until now."

By Callum Pattison

Image Credit - Beauty Time Photography

Published Sunday 17th September 2023