Photo: Ian Brodie
By Brian Bennett
Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner talked about frustration being the key word in the aftermath of Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Seaham Red Star.
Skinner said: “We had a fantastic 1-0 win away to Thornaby in the cup in midweek so we thought that because of the performance on Teesside we’d only go with the one enforced change today with Thomas Kalthoeber dropping out through injury and Ben Harmison coming back in. But we seem to be the masters of shooting ourselves in the foot and never really recovered after the first seven minutes where we conceded twice – and again they were two really avoidable goals. They’ve won the first header and the second in our box from a corner. The first (header) was contested but for the second we are asleep on the back post and Danny Sayer got in front of his man and nodded the ball in. We had passed the ball okay in the opening moments so that was disappointing then we gave it away on half way and they’ve worked it down our left hand side and switched it out to the right and again it was a really poor goal to concede defensively but fair play to him (Sayer) who has cut inside and scored. Consequently we gave ourselves a mountain to climb. We try not to panic and you say ‘okay keep doing what we do well at home and get our foot on the ball and pass it’ but we couldn’t seem to be able to do that whether confidence had zapped out of us or whether it was that the players were trying too hard knowing that we were 2-0 down. Our touch was off; our passing was off; our movement was off and we didn’t press them (Seaham) when they had the ball and the first half was a non event for us.”
He continued: “We had had to make an enforced change in the first half when Ben Sampson felt his hamstring so he had to come off and I just thought we needed to change things for the second half and had to be on the front foot coming down the bank a little bit. We introduced another couple of subs and Seaham have sat in a little bit and said ‘come on then break us down’ – and although we saw more possession, again we didn’t really move the ball quick enough to move them around. We passed it without really creating too much – and I can’t remember too many efforts on goal if I’m honest. You just think ‘it’s going to be one of those days’ where nothing is going right for us. We couldn’t seem to control it and pass it the way we are used too; we had made three subs then Adam Johnson has had to come off injured so we changed it again and we take an even bigger risk and go with three at the back and push Ben (Harmison) up front. That meant we sacrificed our principles because we are a man light and the intention was to go from back to front as quick as we could – but even then we didn’t play into Ben with any kind of quality and when we did, we didn’t get runners around which was the whole point of him going up there. However, the one time we did, we got a goal back. It’s gone up to Ben, he’s flicked it and we are asking Jordan Lashley to play off Ben and the one time he (Lashley) does get close to him and reads the flick-on he brings it down and fires it into the bottom corner. If the goal had come ten minutes earlier it might have been interesting but it was probably a little bit of ‘too little, too late.’
He went on: “It was a bit of a niggly game but I just thought it was disappointing all over and frustration is the key word but let’s not forget how far we have come. Historically – and without being disrespectful – for the last decade this club (Ashington) have been on about not being in the bottom three and today we were talking about if we had won, we could have gone second top so at times we need to put things into perspective. Yes we are all disappointed and yes we haven’t played to the levels we are capable of but these players usually bounce back. They seem to follow up a disappointing result with a positive one and we need to do that next week at home to Guisborough. Our home record is really, really good, I think that is our fourth defeat along with one draw out of our games at Woodhorn Lane and we have won 11.” Skinner will have to reckon without Thomas Kalthoeber, Tom Bramley and Max Emmerson who are all ruled out through injury whilst Ben Sampson is doubtful and Adam Johnson’s fitness will be assessed. However, Max Cowburn and Paul Robinson come back into the reckoning along with Jamie Hanson for the match which has a 3pm kick off.