Ashington FC’s player/manager Steve Bowey said he was ‘devastated and gutted’ to hear that club captain Wayne Buchanan had suffered a double leg fracture in Tuesday’s 3-2 defeat at Hebburn.
The injury occurred just after the half-way point in the first half when the defender landed awkwardly. He was carried off the field and taken to hospital where X-rays confirmed Bowey’s fears.
“It’s awful news that Wayne has fractured his leg - and I’m absolutely devastated and gutted for him,” said Bowey. “It’s a tough one to take. I can accept defeat but when one of my players - especially one of Buchanan’s calibre - gets a bad injury like this, it hits home.
"At the end of the day, he has got a family and his news is not nice to hear. When Wayne landed awkwardly, there was nobody near him. He heard the crack - and we feared the worst - which has come to haunt us.”
He continued: “Put into perspective, we want to win football matches but I don’t want players to get injured the way Wayne has done tonight and my heart goes out to him. We will be trying to put a performance in for him against Knaresborough Town in the extra qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday because Wayne is one of the most popular players in the dressing room.
"He is going to be a massive miss for us on the park - but knowing ‘Bucks’, he’ll be around the changing room and will be wanting us to do really well.”
After the Hebburn defeat, their second in four days, following hard on the heels of their 4-3 opening day reverse against Blyth AFC, Bowey issued a 'get your heads up' directive to his players in the dressing room.
Bowey said: “I was pleased with the second-half fight-back where we showed a bit of determination and I’ve just told the lads in the dressing room they have got to get their heads up because it’s a long season. We will always score goals but have lost two games by the odd goal and we need to improve defensively.
"Tonight at Hebburn was pretty much the same story as we experienced on Saturday where we conceded three poor goals. The first was a penalty - then we folded a little bit after that.
"They (Hebburn) got down the sides and the third goal was a bit unfortunate where our goalkeeper Conor Grant has made a save and the ball has rebounded to their player who scored.
"To be fair, we didn’t get to grips with a Hebburn side who had good movement with their full backs getting forward and like Saturday, we cannot afford to give goals away - and tonight against a side of Hebburn’s quality, doing just that gave them a head start.”
He continued: “I thought we should have had a penalty in the first half as well but at the end of the day I don’t want to talk about referees because it’s all about us. We showed character and fighting spirit but I keep repeating myself when I talk about us not playing for the full 90 minutes.
"At half-time, we were 3-0 down and had a mountain to climb – but credit to the lads because we did well to pull it back to 3-2 and even had a half chance to equalise near the end.”
He went on: “We re-organised at half-time and changed our style of play second half. Channon North came on upfront which caused them problems and we went a bit more direct.
"One or two of my players were not quite on their game tonight but there were nevertheless some good performances and collectively we did okay in spells. But we have got to stop giving goals away at the start, if truth be told.
"We will dust ourselves down and face our biggest game of the season – what is our cup final – on Saturday when we are at home to Knaresborough Town in the Emirates FA Cup.”