By Brian Bennett
Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner said he was doubly delighted on Wednesday night – with his sides 4-1 win against Redcar Athletic – and for four goal marksman Jordan Lashley.
Trailing 1-0, Skinner made a triple substitution thrusting Max Cowburn, Bobby Taylor and Lashley into the fray – and to say the move paid dividends would be a gross understatement as the latter scored four times in the final quarter of the match: “I was delighted with the result as well as for Jordan Lashley,” enthused Skinner afterwards, “The win moves us up the table albeit we’ve probably played more games than some of the teams around us but we have got the points on the board and I’m a ‘points on the board’ person as opposed to having ‘games in hand.’
He continued: “It was a funny sort of a game really. Obviously we were the away team but they (Redcar) set up like an away team. They defended with a low block and out of possession they had every player in their own half. Early in the game we saw lots and lots of the ball and if I could get the stats, we would probably have broken the league record for the amount of possession we had across the 90 minutes. However, in the first half we were just a little bit slow. We didn’t quite move the ball quick enough to move Redcar around and cause them problems. We were also wasteful in possession and were guilty of making unforced errors where we gave the ball away under no pressure.”
For all the dominance they had, Skinner saw his side go a goal behind: “It was a classic sucker punch,” he added, “I think – until the end where they came out because they were behind – it was probably their only shot on target in the first 70 minutes but fair play to the lad Owen Clarkson who finished it fantastically. The ball went in off the underside of the crossbar and inside the top corner and that gives them (Redcar) something to hang on for. They had set the team up to frustrate and stifle us and not give us space in behind which is a compliment to our lads – but we are not top goal scorers in the league for nothing and it just got a little bit frustrating in the first half because we know we are better than that.”
He continued: “Second half we improved. We did move the ball quicker and we know when we do that, they’ve got to shuffle and slide as a unit and the more you do that, the move you become tired and gaps start to appear. We kept looking to pass it; look to create chances and in the end we made a triple substitution to stay on the front foot. I put three very forward thinking players on to try and get us back in the game and Jordan (Lashley) has come on, scored four goals and I’m really happy for him.”
Ashington go to Northallerton on Saturday (March 5) and Skinner said: “That’s two wins in a row for us and we will be looking to make it three in North Yorkshire. As ever, we’ll just take one game at a time and if we win those games, we’ll see where it takes us at the end of the season.” Ben Sampson and Curtis Coppen will both undergo fitness tests whilst Paul Robinson should be available to return to the squad.