By Brian Bennett
Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner took a few minutes to draw breath after watching his side win a cut and thrust contest 1-0 against Sunderland RCA at the LGV Park ground on Saturday.
Substitute Bobby Taylor struck the all important goal eight minutes from time and apart from the result, the boss was delighted with the impact made by Taylor and Jordan Lashley who were both introduced after 65 minutes: “Sometimes as a manager you have got to look at the bigger picture and think about not always just picking what might be your best 11 players to start – you’ve got to think about if you need to change something in the game, what have I got available. I was pleased for Bobby (Taylor) to get the goal because he was in the team at Whitley Bay and has then had a couple of fleeting visits off the bench whilst Jordan (Lashley) is probably a little bit unlucky because he has played two games and got three goals. Jordan’s probably thinking ‘why am I on the bench’ but it was all geared towards if I needed some impact (from the bench) – and we did today. We wanted that injection of pace up top and both of them (Taylor and Lashley) went on and caused problems.”
He continued: “The two lads were given an opportunity to come on the pitch and make a difference – and they took it. That’s what we always ask of a substitute – we don’t ask them to be happy about not being in the first 11 – what we always say to them is ‘if you get an opportunity to go on and influence the game, do it then lay a marker down for the following week when we have got to pick a squad’ and that’s what both of them (Bobby Taylor and Jordan Lashley) did to be fair.”
Reflecting on the 90 plus minutes of non stop commitment from both sides, Skinner said: “I think everyone in the ground has probably just watched a game of football a bit like what the Northern League is all about really. I thought it was a good game; a decent spectacle and although on the balance of things, RCA will probably argue that they could have nicked it on chances – we have got the win and I’m thrilled with three points. To be honest I thought RCA were probably the better side in the first half – certainly on chances – because they had one or two good opportunities whereas I thought we just forced it ‘long’ a little bit too often and I wanted us to be a little bit more patient. Sometimes when there is a slope on the pitch, the players fall into that lull of ‘everyone wants to get forward down the hill and we want to play forward quickly’ and at times I think we fell into the trap of doing it too often and our play became a little bit predictable. However, when RCA did have a spell where they were the better side, we certainly stuck at it. We defended manfully and defended the penalty area really well – so that was very, very pleasing.” He added: “Second half I thought we were the better side and had the better chances. What we did mention in the team talk was that they (RCA) hadn’t played for a month. I said to our lads ‘you know what it felt like when we came up against Penrith last weekend after not having a game for three and a half weeks – and they (RCA) will be feeling the same way as you were.’ So with 25 minutes to go, we brought Taylor and Lashley on who are very direct and full of pace. That is the last thing teams want to face when it is getting deep into the game and I thought the pair of them offered good width; good pace and we also created a number of chances.”