By Brian Bennett
A sensational fifth minute strike by Paul Robinson proved decisive as Ashington ran out 1-0 winners over Blyth Town at Gateway Park on Friday night.
And Colliers manager Ian Skinner was delighted after the final whistle when he said: “It was a brilliant game for us. Credit to Blyth Town who were full of energy and full of running which we knew they would be because they are putting together quite a youthful side. So leading on from the Alnwick game in midweek, we got what we wanted. We followed a similar format in terms of pretty much two teams – one which played for 55 minutes and then the other team came on and played the remainder of the contest. I thought in possession we managed the tempo quite well, we knew when to keep it and we starved them (Blyth Town) of the ball a little bit but although we played a little bit safe at times, it was fine – it’s pre season and it’s all about fitness.”
He continued: “In terms of the match itself, I don’t think we ever really looked in much trouble. The physical output was very good and it was comfortable. At Alnwick, probably everything went in for us – whilst tonight little things didn’t quite drop for us – and that happens in football. The lads who started did really well and again the side that came on I thought the energy and application which they showed was positive and that’s what it’s all about. Two pre season games in, it’s about getting minutes into people’s legs. We keep a record of how many minutes everyone has played so we’ll make sure that things balance themselves out.”
He went on: “We move onto next week and we step up again – so we go from two games in a week to three. Again we’ll manage those minutes, push people and possibly leave them on the pitch a little bit longer. So rather than a two team model we’ll probably go down to a squad game a little bit. Most likely some players will play two but not three games and we’ll sit down and work that out from a per iodisation model and we’ll look at that in terms of where we are physically. But I was really, really pleased with the game. It was played at a good pace and there was tenacity in it which was good.” Midfield maestro Robinson scored with a left footer from 20 yards and Skinner chuckled when he said: “Robbo did what Robbo does! He scored a good goal – and he’s playing really well.”