Ashington FC head coach Ian Skinner praised his players for showing four qualities - character, attitude, spirit and togetherness - which culminated in a 3-2 extra time win over Dronfield in their FA Vase clash in Derbyshire on Saturday.
The Colliers went a goal behind before a double from Andrew Johnson put them in front.
Then after the hosts had equalised with virtually the last kick – in the 94th minute – a header by Liam Atkin proved to be the winner.Skinner emerged from the dressing rooms and said: “In cup football, it’s the result which matters and we are in the hat for the next round.
“Was it pretty – no; were we at our best – no; but in saying that we started the game relatively brightly and didn’t take chances early on.
“I think a little bit of the Ashington of old crept into it where we thought:
“This might be an easy afternoon” but as I repeatedly say week in week out – there are no easy games.
“People will look at things and say Dronfield are
in the national pyramid below us and in mid table in their league and will think we should be winning easily - only that doesn’t happen in football.”
Skinner had mixed reactions in the first period: “We didn’t make it count at the start because when you are on top you need to get something to show for it,” he added,
“I was really disappointed how we took our foot off the gas; how we sopped playing and how we invited Dronfield into the game.
“We went a goal behind which is becoming a habit which we need to stop because there will come a point when it happens where we are not able to come back.
“But in all that I have to praise the lads for their character, attitude, spirit and togetherness because they have equalised just before half time and that was important.”
He continued: “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.
“There’s no question we have got talent in our camp but sometimes we have got to keep on the task of working hard.
“Second half – and without being disrespectful to Dronfield - we absolutely controlled the game for 40 minutes.
“We looked comfortable throughout the period and someone who was doing match analysis for me told me Dronfield had one shot on target in the second half and that was the goal they scored in the 94th minute.
“I was disappointed at that because for the last five to ten minutes we looked edgy and surrendered possession cheaply and dropped a little bit deeper.
“You can’t do that – invite teams onto you.” Skinner introduced Ollie Hotchkiss for the last ten minutes of normal time – and the substitute set up the winner netted by Atkin: “In extra time I thought we were the better side creating the better chances,” added Skinner,
“We should have scored before we did then we get a free kick. Ollie [Hotchkiss] hasn’t had much game time since he came to the club but one thing he has got in his locker is unbelievable quality on the ball.
Ollie has put a peach of a ball in which had loads of pace on it and which was heading for the top corner.
“In those situations, defenders are ultra cautious because they know if they touch it, they run the risk of putting it into their own goal - and credit to Liam [Atkin] in making absolutely sure the ball finds the net.
“We worked the players hard in training on Tuesday which hopefully has helped to get them through the 120 minutes plus today.
“We are now unbeaten in seven games - with six wins included - but we need to stop falling behind behind.”