By Brian Bennett
Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner admitted that his side had to work hard before collecting all three points against Northallerton Town at Woodhorn Lane on Tuesday night – but said it was a ‘pleasing result.’
Robbie Dale’s first goal for the club put the hosts ahead but Northallerton levelled five minutes before the break through John Howard.
However Karl Ross put the Colliers back in front before Craig Spooner scored for the second consecutive game in a 3-1 win.
Skinner said afterwards: “All in all there were lots to be pleased with. Some of our play was excellent but we’ll need to reinforce and remind the players about making sure when we lose the ball that we get into a good shape out of possession to make it difficult for the opposition. We aren’t going to play every week like we did on Saturday; we aren’t going to score six goals every week and we’ll have more games like tonight than we had against Seaham. It was a pleasing result. We had to work hard – but there again you’ve got to work hard in every game in this league. However, we are two games in with six points on the board; have nine goals for and one against and if anyone had offered me that seven days ago, I would have taken it.”
He continued: “I thought we started the game really brightly again and scored which makes it that little bit easier. Northallerton didn’t spring too many surprises coming with a back five and trying to make it difficult for us so to break them down so early in the game as we did (sixth minute) was good. Then we probably had a 15-20 minutes period where we were camped in their half and created numerous chances. Their ‘keeper (Thomas Dawson) has made a couple of good saves and they have defended really well and put their bodies on the line. We then became sloppy and lost our shape a little bit and players wanted that extra touch and extra split second before letting the shot go which allowed Northallerton to get a little bit closer to be able to block it. We then started to almost overplay to try and score and they (Northallerton) came into the game a little bit towards the end of the first half. There were one or two warning signs for us because we were committing too many players forward and not working hard enough to get back. It was disappointing to concede that type goal because we were caught which was a little bit of our achilles heel last year.”
He went on: “We came in at half time and we knew if we kept playing to the levels which we are capable of, that we stood a good chance of winning the game. We just needed to be a little bit more patient and play within our shape; limit the touches and move the ball quicker. In spells we did that in the second half and we scored at a vital time when we were probably on top again. It was a good move; a good goal to be fair and a good finish from Karl Ross. They (Northallerton) haven’t offered too much after the break – obviously they were coming down the bank a little bit with the wind on their backs so they went quite direct and lots of things ran out of play or through to our ‘keeper Karl Dryden. Obviously we got a third goal and it was a good move and finish from Craig Spooner but again similar to Saturday against Seaham, Northallerton have gone right until the end. They made a couple of subs – the winger came on and caused us one or two problems but we saw the game out and I was delighted. Now we’ll look forward to Saturday’s clash against Newton Aycliffe in the extra preliminary round of the Emirates FA Cup.”