Skinner calls for some consistency to Ashington’s performances

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 has set his squad a new challenge for the remainder of the season.

The Colliers have seven games remaining, the first of which is at home to Sunderland RCA at Woodhorn Lane on Thursday night (April 14), and Skinner is now calling on the team to show some consistency.

Following the 3-0 victory over Jarrow Roofing on Saturday, he said: “All in all, full credit to the players who take the plaudits for this past week.

“I challenged them before the Consett game about our position in the division and they are trying all they can to put that right.

“Other than the disappointing 1-0 defeat against North Shields last Tuesday, where we deserved something, we couldn’t have asked for much more than three wins out of four, but I will be emphasising to the lads that the key word now until the end of the season is consistency.

“To get us into a respectable league position we need to be consistent in order to finish the campaign off strongly, and with the talent we have in the dressing room there’s no reason why we cannot do that.”

He continued: “The great win at Jarrow on Saturday finished off the week very nicely.

“It was another three points and a clean sheet, and in many respects a similar story to our 2-1 win over Marske on Thursday.

“I thought everyone looked a bit leggy, Jarrow had also played three games during the week and they were the same.

“It was a bit of a slow start all round but it was always going to be key for whoever scored the first goal, and we got our noses in front.

“Adam Harvey has picked the ball up on the right hand side, cut inside and gone past a couple of defenders then hit a great shot across the keeper into the bottom corner.

“We got a massive lift from that, and then when you go 1-0 up, people start forgetting about tiredness and stiffness and we came into the game a lot more then.

“We got a quick second, which was equally great. We took a quick free kick which has come back off the wall to Michael Dixon who has managed to bend one into the top corner.

“Michael went looking around after he scored and wasn’t sure what to do, because he doesn’t get too many.

“But 2-0 really lifted us further and Jarrow’s tired legs seemed to get heavier and we comfortably saw the first half out.

“We could have had a third too as Damien Stevens hit the bar. He plays on the shoulder, he’s dangerous and his pace causes problems.

“He knows he should have scored but he has made up for that by getting our third in the second half.”

Ashington had to defend in numbers from the first whistle of the second half as the home side thrust concerted pressure on them.

Skinner added: “At half-time we didn’t say a great deal to the players other than that we were in a fantastic position being 2-0 ahead, but that the job was only half done and we needed them to be professional after the break.

“We knew Jarrow would come at us and they decided to go very direct, putting three up top and go from back to front quickly.

“They were chasing the next goal but we defended manfully and have kept them out.

“Conor Grant has made three really good saves and it developed into a situation where Jarrow were either going to pinch one or we were going to get a third, and thankfully it was the latter.

“We also kept encouraging our players to dig in and weather the storm they were throwing at us in terms of aerial bombardment, and we asked the lads to be brave and get on the ball.”

He concluded: “The third goal seemed to relax us and towards the end we played some lovely one touch football in and around their box.

“The chance which fell to substitute Andrew Bulford, had it gone in, would have been right up there as being one of the best goals we have scored this season.

“Adam Harvey has hit a post, Ben Harmison has turned and fired one just over the bar and in the end, we could have taken our tally to five or six.”