One game too far for Ashington ­– head coach Skinner

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 said the Colliers’ single goal defeat to West Allotment Celtic on Friday night was “one game too far to turn things round”.

And Skinner added that Wednesday night’s clash against FA Vase holders and Ebac Northern League title challengers Morpeth Town at Craik Park is the ideal next game for the squad.

Allotment’s former Ashington striker Tony Stephenson came back to haunt his old club with the decisive goal in the first half.

But Skinner said: “We were 2-0 down against Sunderland RCA before coming back to win 3-2 then we trailed on three occasions when we faced Guisborough and turned things round to clinch a 5-4 victory.

“We had clear cut chances in the second half against Allotment but tonight was probably the occasion where it was one game too far to turn things round and come back again.

“We have got to stop giving opposing teams a head start and ourselves a mountain to climb.

“Possession is nine tenths of the law and we had an awful lot of possession, but goals win football matches.

“In the first half we were very poor and below the standards we expect, yet bizarrely enough I thought we started the game OK.

“We got the ball down and tried to play, and then we began to create our own problems, and from my point of view, conceded another poor goal allowing a free header in the middle of the goal.

“To be fair, at half-time we didn’t have to tell the players about their below par performance because they knew that themselves and were open and honest and admitted it.

“Second half we have dominated from start to finish. They [West Allotment] have had the odd little threatening move, but we also got a bit of reaction from our lads second half and dominated possession, got in behind them and had five excellent chances.

“Dale Pearson’s shot has been saved by a puddle on the line, that was his honest assessment. He said he thought all he had to do was to side foot the ball into the net but it stuck in the puddle.

“Ben Harmison and Wayne Buchanan have both had decent headers and goalkeeper Chris Bannon has made a good save from Pearson.

“Fair play to West Allotment, their game plan was to sit in and put lots of players behind the ball and let us have it in deep areas and to have possession and say to us ‘break us down’, but we couldn’t.

“Yet on another day we could have won the game 5-1 with the chances we created second half but we didn’t take them, and that’s another story of our season, conceding soft goals and not taking our chances.

“Credit to both sides on the night because the conditions were challenging. We definitely tried to pass the ball and I was pleased with that aspect, but at the end of the day it is another defeat.”

Looking ahead to Wednesday’s derby at Morpeth, Skinner said: “Obviously it will be a tough one but probably the ideal game for us.

“This group of players we have always perform well against the good sides yet let themselves down against the perceived lesser clubs for whatever reason, which is both crazy and disappointing.”