04 Feb 2018 in General News
By Brian Bennett
Ashington FC manager Steve Bowey witnessed a Jekyll and Hyde performance from his side as they went down 4-1 at home to Ebac Northern League high fliers Consett on Saturday.
The player/boss praised his squad during the interval acknowledging that they had played to their maximum potential. However he added that ultimately they paid the penalty for failing to convert chances in the opening period and was not happy with their performance after the break: “I thought we were brilliant first half where we created numerous chances,” he said afterwards, “We pressed high and it was probably the best we have played since I took over as manager.
It was unfortunate that we didn’t come in at half time two or three goals up which we deserved but the way we started the second half wasn’t good enough. Credit to Consett because they put us on the back foot and the first goal for them - which was the equaliser - was a cross cum shot and gave them momentum. We couldn’t build our play up and everything was forced or resulted in the players doing the wrong things at critical times. We needed to get back to basics – and we didn’t do that. It’s hard to put a finger on it but how many times in football does a game develop into one of two halves – and that was certainly the case today."
He continued: “I’m obviously disappointed that we have come away with quite a big defeat and on the evidence of the second half performance, it showed that we paid the penalty for missing chances in the first half. I praised the lads at half time because I thought they were excellent. Could we have played better – probably not because we played to our maximum first half but football is all about 90 minutes – you don’t win a game over the course of 45 minutes and it showed today.”
Bowey reflected on a major turning point during the second period when Damien Stevens had a goal disallowed – and within a minute Consett went down the other end to stretch their lead to 3-1: “I would like to see the footage of the disallowed goal because from my angle, ‘Damo’ did excellently,” said Bowey, “He got across the centre half and out-muscled him. If that ‘goal’ stands, we are back at 2-2 and puts us on the front foot and gives us that little bit of edge but they [Consett] broke away and got a ‘killer’ third. It affected the full team and the lads are frustrated because they deserved something out of the game - but to be fair Consett were excellent second half. They punished us when they needed to, kept the ball and controlled the tempo of the game but I’m still bitterly disappointed we didn’t get the three points.”
For Tuesday night’s trip to face Ryhope CW, skipper Craig Scott is a doubt: “Losing Craig at half time with a hamstring strain was a massive blow which totally changed the complex of the game in my eyes because I thought he was superb,” added Bowey, “He won every header and dominated and they [Consett] probably sensed that he was our best defender and capitalised. Scott will have a fitness test on Tuesday but he’ll be touch and go.
It’s going to be another tough clash. Anyone who has been to Ryhope will know that you need to roll your sleeves up. We need to bounce back because we haven’t won in 2018 and I’ll take a scrappy 1-0 win with us not playing as well just to get the momentum going again. As a team, you have got to score more than the opposition to get the three points and we are not doing that at the moment. Keeping clean sheets helps you to win games irrespective of how well you play and if you don’t takes chances you get punished.”
He concluded: “We have trained really well, working on shape and organisation and I know it’s an old cliché but we will get a win sooner rather than later. We have got to stick at it and take the positives out of this game and move on. I have been here a few months now and the lads know what I expect. The first half today was right up there with the best - but on the flipside, the second half was not what I want.”