ASHINGTON CFC skipper Liam Atkin could not put his finger on where the Woodhorn Lane-based outfit had gone wrong as they went out of the FA Carlsberg Vase at the fourth round stage against Bodmin Town on Saturday.
Now Atkin is hoping the incentive of a Northumberland Senior Cup semi-final coupled to the club’s desire to attain a high league placing will act as a spur for the remainder of the campaign.
Following the 3-2 defeat at Priory Park, Atkin said: “The lads tried and worked hard and were shattered after the game – but I have no idea where we went wrong.
“We were massively disappointed – more so this season than last year when we went out to Shortwood.
“We had a big incentive to win the game with a home draw, but it seems as if we always get to the last 32 or 16 then slip up.
“Bodmin’s second goal killed us because after half-time we came out on top and once we had got the equaliser, I thought there was only going to be one winner.
“Their second came only five minutes later and we didn’t expect it.
“It was a sucker punch and took the wind out of our sails and hit us so hard because we thought we could go on and get into the lead.
“Then the third one is a massive blow as we were pressing to get back into the game.”
Atkin said the playing squad felt for the fans – some of whom had encountered treacherous and hazardous wintry weather conditions en route which turned their journey into one of 16 hours.
“We were disappointed for our supporters, some who had trekked through the night before, cheering us on,” he added.
“The players were gutted for them and we all appreciated their support.
“It was unbelievable. They came a long way and were tremendous and we were only sorry that we couldn’t get a positive result.”
Atkin said the club is now looking ahead at the league programme – and a Northumberland Senior Cup semi-final away to neighbours North Shields.
“We need to pick ourselves up and finish as high up the table as possible,” he said.
“We have under-performed in the league so we have got that goal to aim for, then the Northumberland Senior Cup provides a massive incentive for us to win a trophy.
“If we were to kick on in the league and do well in the Senior Cup it could make our season.”