By Brian Bennett

Midfielder duo Craig Spooner and Ben Sampson earned warm praise from manager Ian Skinner on Tuesday night after both were on the score sheet in Ashington’s 3-1 win over Guisborough Town in the quarter final of the Ebac Northern League Division One Cup.

Spooner – on his return to the side – netted twice whilst Sampson notched his first goal of the campaign.

Skinner said of Spooner: “Craig has been in and out of the team of late. He’s been unavailable on two occasions and has also missed a bit of training plus he’s had a little bit of a niggle in his knee. Rather than play an orthodox winger, I just wanted us be a little bit more solid in wide areas but still look to exploit them (the wide areas) because that part of the field was somewhere where we thought we could get at Guisborough – and it has paid off. Craig slotted into that role tonight and has also scored two goals – but he’ll probably revert back to centre midfield on Saturday.” The boss said of Sampson: “People look and think he’s played a lot of the season at right back with the odd game in midfield – like at Whitley Bay when we won 6-1 where he was really, really good that day. Ben has got this ability to win the ball, intercept then drive forward with it and I think the last couple of games he’s been our best midfielder and that’s why I’ve looked to keep him in that position. I was delighted for him when he scored because he’s not renowned for his finishing and with it being the third goal which gave us a little bit of breathing space, it settled us – as well as the game – down.”