Result is all that matters for Ashington and Blyth Town in derby cup clash
Ashington take on neighbours Blyth Town at The dwmedia Stadium on Tuesday night (October 5) in the first round of the Techflow Northumberland Senior Cup with Colliers manager Ian Skinner declaring that the result is the all important issue.
The Colliers have been knocked out of both the Emirates FA Cup and Buildbase FA Vase by Newcastle Benfield in the early part of this season – and Skinner said that the club’s focus is very much on the Senior Cup and the Ebac Northern League Cup.
“The Senior Cup is a competition which we’ll be taking seriously,” he said, “We are playing against a team who are just a few miles up the road. Obviously they are second division of the ENL and we are first and they will come up here to these fantastic surroundings and facilities we have and see that there’s a great opportunity to show that they are a good side - and we are aware they are as I’ve seen them a few times already this season.
"However, we’ll do what we always do – by preparing the best we can. We’ll pick the strongest team we have got available or the team which gives us the best chance of winning on the night.”
He continued: “As I always say, if we can get a good performance and a good result then fantastic but the result is all that matters in cup football. It’s a competition which usually has a nice final at Newcastle United’s St James’ Park and you don’t have to win many rounds to get there. So it’s a game where we will be hoping to progress. We are disappointed with every match we don’t win and aim to put right the wrongs but overall we look to build week on week with the long term aim to be as successful as we can be.”
Blyth Town manager Michael Connor says his squad - with an average age of just under 21 - are moving in the right direction despite Saturday’s 8-1 defeat against West Allotment Celtic in the Vase and that they will go into the contest with nothing to lose: “Ian Skinner is doing a great job at Ashington whilst we are going through a learning process and it’ll be another experience for our youngsters,” he said, “We are getting used to the standard of football in the ENL and will be massive underdogs on the night - but we will have nothing to lose. Consequently there will be no pressure on us so the message to the players will be to go out and enjoy themselves.”
Turning the clock back five seasons ago after his old Blyth Town side had recorded a 2-1 victory over the Colliers at Woodhorn Lane in the Senior Cup, Ashington-born Connor described it as a ‘defining moment’ in his own managerial career: “Danny Sayer’s last minute goal which took us through made it a night to remember,” he added, “From a personal point of view, coming from grassroots football as a Sunday league manager and facing a club of Ashington’s history, I was standing beside this fabulous grandstand - and it was a defining moment that’s for sure.”
Tuesday night’s clash - which has a 7.30pm kick-off - is expected to pull in a bumper crowd but both sides are in action with ENL games on Saturday (October 2).
Ashington host Newcastle Benfield whilst Blyth Town are at home to Carlisle City. Both games start at 3pm.