ASHINGTON’S upbeat skipper Liam Atkin admitted after the Colliers had made history by reaching the last 16 of the FA Vase that the Woodhorn Lane outfit had learned a lot from the previous season.
In the 3-2 win over Newport Pagnell, the United Counties League premier division side rallied from a two-goal deficit to level at 2-2 before Gareth Bainbridge scored the eventual clincher for the Colliers.
Atkin said: “I thought we started quite well but after going two-nil up we took our foot off the accelerator.
“We knew of Newport Pagnell’s dangers from set plays and that’s how they got back on terms – although they never carved us open.
“However, we reacted positively after conceding twice – we could have had our heads down but instead we got our noses in front within a minute.”
At the same stage of the competition last season, Ashington had led by two clear goals at Long Buckby only to go out as the home side stormed back with three second half strikes.
Atkin, pictured, said they were given a sharp reminder by team-mate James Taylor on Saturday as they appeared to be cruising at 2-0.
“I believe it was James who said after we scored our second “let’s not happen what we experienced at Long Buckby last season”.
“However, I think after last year we have learned from it.
“I reckon you learn from bad experiences and apart from Long Buckby, we also learned a lot as a team as we went out of the FA Cup at Grimsby.”
As for Saturday’s win, Atkin added: “I thought the lads were terrific.
“It was not the best of games but at the end of the day we won and if Phill Bell’s chance had gone in instead of hitting the bar, it would have been interesting to have seen what they (Newport Pagnell) would have done.
“They probably would have come out a bit more at us and they did go 4-3-3 in the closing stages.
“It may have looked as if the game was on a knife-edge from a spectators point of view, but playing in the game itself we felt comfortable.
“We discussed at half-time to limit them to the bare minimum on set-pieces because that was probably going to be their best chance at coming back at us.
“I know Karl Dryden pulled off a save in the dying minutes, but to be honest, I would expect him to save those ten times out of ten because he’s the type of keeper who is not going to concede goals like that.”