Ashington head coach frustrated by derby game’s postponement

Ashington FC head coach Ian Skinner. Picture by Ian Appleby
Ashington FC head coach Ian Skinner. Picture by Ian Appleby

Ashington FC head coach Ian Skinner expressed his frustration after Saturday’s derby match against Whitley Bay was called off due to a frozen surface.

Woodhorn Lane football secretary Gav Perry called in local referee Adam Nichol who gave the thumbs down decision shortly before midday.

“I spent most of the morning at the ground from 10am until 11.45am when Adam made the inspection,” said Skinner.

“The major area of concern was the stretch in front of the stand where a shadow prevented the sun from reaching that area until late afternoon.

“However, other parts of the pitch which had the sunlight on were still hard and hadn’t thawed.

“The lads trained at 1.30pm at Ben Harmison’s gym and when we returned to the ground for light refreshments at 3pm. I walked on the pitch and it was still frozen solid.”

Skinner’s frustration was aggravated as apart from long term injuries, a full squad was available for the first time since they took over in February of the 2014-15 campaign.

“We had a squad of 21 players to choose from, which was quite ironic because in two and a bit years this has never happened before,” he said.

“It would have been good to have got a game under our belts to create a bit of competition for places over the coming weeks, and certainly ahead of the League Cup tie against Newcastle Benfield on Tuesday night (January 17).

“But the one positive is that manager [Steve Harmison] will be back in the dressing rooms and can make the tough decisions who to play and who to leave out,” he joked.

Newcomers Ryan McGorrigan and Dale Pearson both trained on Saturday, as did skipper Craig Scott.

“It’s great that Craig did the workout but ideally he needs another week,” added Skinner.

“We plan to take real caution with him and want him to be spot on because the last time he broke down after playing one game then pulled up in training and has been out for six to seven weeks.”

After Tuesday’s League Cup clash, Ashington travel to meet Benfield at Sam Smiths Park on Saturday for a league fixture.

Skinner said: “Its always difficult playing the same opposition twice in quick succession.

“Rarely do the same team win both games, and depending what happens on Tuesday will have a big impact on how the game goes on Saturday.”

Meanwhile Ebac Northern League secretary Kevin Hewitt has acted quickly to rearrange two of Ashington’s recent postponements.

The Colliers will now travel to face neighbours Morpeth Town on Wednesday, March 8, whilst they will host Whitley Bay on Tuesday, March 14.