Newton Aycliffe 101 Ashington
Ashington FC’s interim manager Ian Skinner – after seeing his side arrest a run of five consecutive defeats with a 1-1 draw at Newton Aycliffe last weekend – has issued a new challenge to his players ahead of Saturday’s home clash against Ryhope CW, writes Brian Bennett.
Club captain Wayne Buchanan gave the Colliers the perfect start at Moore Lane with a goal in the fifth minute, which the Wansbeck outfit held onto until ten minutes from time when substitute Ben Wood equalised for the Newtonians.
Skinner had mixed emotions of delighted coupled with disappointment – but this week will stress to his squad the importance of enjoying better fortunes at the club’s Woodhorn Lane base where they start a run of four consecutive Saturday games.
“We have done okay today and taken a point,” said Skinner afterwards. “I’ll have a bigger pool to select from against Ryhope CW so the players need to perform in training and then we’ll sit down as a management group and evaluate what we think is in the best interests re team selection.
“I’m hoping the lads will turn in a decent performance at the Lane because our home form - having lost eight of 13 league clashes – remains a concern.”
He continued: “I’d like to hope that the players have drawn a bit of confidence from the performance and result at Aycliffe as it put a stop on that run of defeats and was the most important issue today.
“If we can pick up a point away from home and win our home games, we will do alright - now our focus is on Saturday.”
The clash against Aycliffe – albeit played in difficult windy conditions - was certainly not one for the purists and chances throughout the 90 minutes were in short supply.
The Colliers had signed Sammy Perez, brother of Newcastle United star Ayoze, and the striker – who made an immediate debut – was involved in the opening exchanges which saw the Colliers go ahead. Perez found Channon North inside the area and when the forward was blocked out for a corner on the right, Karl Ross’s delivery saw Buchanan leap at the far post and direct a looping header which went over ‘keeper Adam Pickford and between the frame of post and crossbar.
It was just the start Skinner and his side had been looking for and seconds later, another chance fell to North who nodded wide.
It was on the half hour before visiting ‘keeper Conor Grant was called into action, making a double save from Shaun Hudson and the follow up by Kurt Matthews.
Substitute Wood netted the equaliser just five minutes after b eing introduced when Ashington failed to clear a free kick into the area and he hooked the ball into the net.