By Brian Bennett
Ashington have started to make a habit of it at Woodhorn Lane – only it’s something which manager Ian Skinner hopes his side will quickly eradicate!
For the second time in a few weeks, home supporters went into raptures after their team – who trailed by two goals – staged a magnificent fight back to win the contest 3-2.
The first occasion was the curtain raiser to the season which saw the Colliers lift the JR Cleator. On Saturday it happened again – this time in their Emirates FA Cup extra preliminary round clash against Newton Aycliffe.
It’s pulsating viewing for the Ashington fans – but whilst Skinner was naturally delighted with the final outcome, he was also concerned that his side found themselves in that situation: “Cup football is all about the result,” he said afterwards, “We’ve won so the supporters go home happy; the players are happy and the club makes a few quid so all in all it’s a good day. Credit to the players for turning it around again – but it’s something that we need to be aware of and something which doesn’t become a regular occurrence.”
He continued: “I thought we started the game a little bit sloppy and a little bit slow which is unlike us because we’ve began the previous two games really positively. Credit to Newton Aycliffe – they came – they pressed up high, they ran hard, they harried us and tried to stop us playing and maybes they knocked us out of our rhythm a little bit. Yet we still had the better of the chances and ‘their ‘keeper Adam McHugh has made a couple of good saves. After that Aycliffe scored a fortuitous first goal which was a cross and it sort of hung in the wind and hit the back post, cannoned in off a defender and into the net. A little bit of sloppy play by us presented them with an opportunity and all of a sudden we found ourselves 2-0 down. Then we sort of came into the game a little bit – whether Aycliffe suddenly thought ‘we’re 2-0 up’ and maybes were a little bit more cautious or whether we thought ‘we’re 2-0 down’ we need to up our game – or maybes it was a combination of both. We started to move the ball and I just felt every time we went forward we looked dangerous and looked like we’ll create chances and that’s not just today – that’s in every game we’ve played so far.”
He went on: “We scored a good goal through Lee Mason then we had a couple of opportunities to draw level. We went in at the interval 2-1 down and really we didn’t say too much at half time. It was a case of playing on the front foot; playing to our strengths second half and we knew we would get chances so we had to stay patient. Those chances came and Lewis Suddick and Dean Briggs have scored with good finishes – so we go 3-2 up. Then for the last 15 minutes it turned into a proper cup tie. Aycliffe had the one really big chance where they have hit the post, the ball has come out to the forward and he has blazed it over the bar. But Paul Robinson has come on for us and had two brilliant opportunities – and McHugh has made two brilliant saves – and in the end it became a classic end to end cup tie between two good teams who have started the season well. It was always going to be a good competitive game and thankfully for us we’ve come out on the right end of the scoreline and we’ll see where we go next. Our opponents in the next round – away to Tadcaster or Tow Law – have drawn 1-1 today and will replay so we’ll have to wait a little bit longer.”