Skinner relieved with Ashington’s win over Whitley Bay

Ian Skinner.
Ian Skinner.

Ashington FC head coach Ian Skinner said the debrief to his squad after the nerve-jangling 4-3 victory over Whitley Bay at a windswept Woodhorn Lane ground on Tuesday night was simple.

“We’ll accept this victory and move on without looking into things too much,” he said.

Skinner was speaking minutes after managing to get his breath back after a pulsating encounter.

His side led 4-0 at the interval with Dylan Williamson notching a hat-trick and Michael Dixon scoring his first goal for the club.

But the Seahorses made a real fist of it despite having ex-Ashington defender Richard Flynn red carded midway through the second period.

Skinner added: “We talked beforehand about the run we had been on before our defeat in the FA Vase at North Shields and how the players had let themselves down massively.

“We changed the team after that game at North Shields but we didn’t get the reaction we wanted in the next match against Seaham.

“We had a poor first 30 minutes against Newcastle Benfield last Saturday and I’ve since watched highlights of the video and we weren’t good enough as a team without the ball.

“We didn’t work hard enough and that’s what contributed to us being 2-0 behind before we eventually lost 3-1.”

He continued: “On Tuesday against Whitley Bay we could have changed the team after Saturday’s performance but we gave the lads another chance to put things right.

“We talked about conditions being difficult, how it was always going to be a game of two halves, and we planned on how we were going to play with the wind and against it.

“With confidence not being as high as it should be, we thought if we could get the first goal or a couple, it would breed confidence and give us something to play for.

“We began relatively well which was good because in the disappointing results, we had started off really slowly.

“We came out of the traps really quickly and after going 2-0 up, talked about doing the basic things well and to try and be ruthless and keep our feet on the pedal.

“It’s the first time I have seen a team 4-0 up in the first half springing to get the ball out of the back of the net and get it back to the centre circle.

“We wanted to make it as big an advantage as we could knowing we would have to defend manfully against the wind.

“At 4-0 up at half-time, the team talk is difficult because you are trying to focus on positive rather than negative thoughts.

“But I said to the players that we have still got the quality to play football against the wind and when we get the ball down and play that’s when we look like a good team.

“To be honest, for the first 20 minutes of the second half, I thought we were fantastic.

“We kept the ball well; we caught them on the break and we should have added to the lead.

“Then we conceded a goal and all of a sudden, our frailties came to the forefront again – and we conceded some very, very poor goals contributing to every one.

“Conor Grant made a great save from the penalty but no one reacts to the rebound because we had switched off; become slack and lazy as bad habits crept in and before you know it, we are clinging on.

“The lads seemed to panic on the ball but we may have had a little bit of luck where the ball was judged not to have gone over the line and we just found a bit of a foothold with a five minutes spell where we got the ball into the far corner and for once we kept it with a purpose and made sure we didn’t give it away cheaply.

“It was three points which we needed. Durham City will be tough on Saturday but if we get another victory then all of a sudden we will be in the top seven or eight with games in hand, and we would then be looking up at the league instead of down.”