By Brian Bennett
Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner – furious with his side who threw away a 3-2 lead before ending up with a 5-3 defeat at the hands of Whickham the previous weekend – made wholesale changes on Saturday and was delighted as they came from behind to win 2-1 against Bishop Auckland at Woodhorn Lane.
Matty Waters fired the visitors ahead in the first minute of the second half but goals from Bobby Taylor and Lewis Suddick secured the victory which completed the double over the Heritage Park outfit this campaign.
Skinner explained his decision when he said: “I made six changes and if the truth be known and without being disrespectful, earlier in the week I was probably going to make more. However, the flip side of that is that it’s a big shout. If I made more than that with seven, eight, nine, ten or 11 then you’ve got to think ‘what sort of performance are you going to get in terms of it being an 11 which will not have played together too often or played together recently. We made the changes because we wanted to be a bit more solid and that’s no disrespect to the players who dropped out from last Saturday. We’ve had people since the turn of the year like Luke Salmon and Karl Ross who have been very, very patient, and their attitude and application in training week after week has been first class. They have accepted the decision which we have made in terms of why they haven’t been playing and I just felt they deserved an opportunity to play today – and I thought both came in and performed admirably.”
He continued: “Making the six changes was a little bit of a) there are some players who deserve an opportunity to play and b) I just needed to freshen things up a little bit because I keep telling players when I leave them out at a weekend that it’s a squad game and that we’ll need you. Having won only one (game) in four before today, if I hadn’t given some of them an opportunity, suddenly they’ll be saying ‘if you don’t need me now, when will you need me’ so there was a little bit of that attached to it as well.” One of the six changes was in goal where Adam McHugh came in for Karl Dryden: “We have got two fantastic goalkeepers at the club,” added Skinner, “No other team in this division will have two ‘keepers as good as we have got. Karl (Dryden) has played the last 12 matches and again has performed really, really well but I just felt as if I needed to give Adam (McHugh) a game and he has come in today and done everything which he has been asked to do.”