12 Jan 2020 in Post Match Interview
ANTONY: “IT WAS A BRILLIANT WIN AND A BIG THREE POINTS”
By Brian Bennett
Ashington FC assistant manager Paul Antony described Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Bishop Auckland as being a ‘big three points’ – and thought his outfit were worthy winners.
The Colliers had been hit by a five goal blitz inside 17 second half minutes when they lost 5-1 to Sunderland RCA in midweek but Antony could not heap enough praise onto them: “It was a brilliant win and a big three points,” said Wallsend-based Antony afterwards, “Wednesday at RCA was disappointing for 20 minutes second half minutes and we spoke frankly with the lads about it - and I think they exchanged dialogue amongst themselves. The conditions today were pretty horrendous with 40-50mph winds and the game was in doubt - and I’m quite sure nobody would have been too surprised if the referee had decided to call the game off. The wind was due to die down at half time so after winning the toss, we wanted to press the opposition with the wind on our backs. I thought we dominated the first half with Bishops just looking to be solid and not wanting to be broken down. We dominated possession and played some nice football in spells and had a couple of really good chances but were a little bit disappointed that we didn’t create too many after that. Things were breaking down a little bit in the final third and you do think on our ground, it’s going to be difficult going up the hill and into the wind but I reckon we are a better team going up the hill if I’m honest - and the wind went down a bit.”
The 37 year old continued: “During the break, we spoke about how the ball would hold up for us and allow us to play more; about us being brave, passing the ball and playing to feet and about being sharp and getting runners on the ball and running with it – and I thought we did that. Obviously we created the chance (for the goal), where David Luke has had a lovely driving run inside and played a reverse ball. We then had a couple of opportunities but eventually the ball fell to Callum (Johnston) who is one of the best strikers of a ball at the club. He hit through it and scored and I thought we deserved the win 100 per cent.”
He went on: “Marc Lancaster has come into the side – he hasn’t played many games this season because of working commitments - and he is a big player when he is available to us. He played centre half today which is not his natural position but I thought he got on the ball, performed really well and led for us. Curtis Coppen was also fantastic second half, winning all headers whilst every single player put their bodies on the line. That was another thing we talked about because as a team if we lose then it needs to really hurt us. We deserved to go in front and to be honest I thought we looked comfortable. The only occasions we looked troubled was from set plays and long throws but apart from that they (Bishop Auckland) weren’t creating many chances or breaking us down.”
London-born Antony concluded: “We defended well and tried to get on the ball, play deep in our half and keep possession which is vital against the wind. It was an important three points because we have got three hard away games in succession coming up at West Auckland, Consett and Stockton Town – but we will go to face them in a positive frame of mind. We need to get a bit of consistency in our make up and we’ll give it our best shot. The win today gives us a bit more of a cushion but we don’t go into games negatively - we try to build on what we have got.”