By Brian Bennett

Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner was extremely happy with his outfit after they had notched their fourth consecutive victory in the Ebac Northern League first division on Saturday – a win which saw them regain pole position.

Dean Briggs smashed a hat trick with other goals coming from Robbie Dale via the penalty spot and Lee Mason to sink Crook Town on a red hot day in Wansbeck.

And afterwards, Skinner acknowledged so many facets which happened during the 90 plus minutes at Woodhorn Lane: “First and foremost, I thought it was a good performance from our lads in difficult conditions in terms of the heat,” he said, “Obviously we were the home team so we wanted to try and dominate the ball – and I thought we did that throughout the whole game if I’m honest. We saw a lot of the ball and just needed to be patient. We are used to scoring early and that didn’t quite happen today and we need to get used to that because we’re not going to be able to score early in every match.”

He continued: “Credit to Crook Town. They were well organised – but we created a plethora of chances and you could see our first goal coming. If I’m being super critical, on occasions we were slightly wasteful but you felt as if breaking the deadlock was only a matter of time – and obviously we got there after a great finish by Dean Briggs across the ‘keeper and in off the far post. Then we got a penalty which Robbie (Dale) put away to make it 2-0.”

He went on: “Second half it was very much about managing the game. It’s really difficult for a team to come out and try and claw their way back into a contest in those sorts of temperatures. We also talked about dictating possession and dominating the ball and making them (Crook) have to run and chase so as to tire them out in the heat whilst if the opportunity presented itself to score more goals. If we could (score more goals) – then great and if it didn’t happen and we won 2-0, we would have been equally as happy. But we got the third and then had the luxury of being able to bring five substitutes on and freshen things up which adds a little bit more impetus into our play and Briggs has gone on to get another couple to complete his hat-trick.”

He added: “Without being disrespectful we controlled large parts of the game – Crook had a couple of maybes half chances but nothing really clear cut so all in all, I was pleased with the performance from start to finish; delighted with the result and also happy that we have been able to rotate the team as early as we did in the game. The win keeps the good run going and to get a clean sheet was a bonus. We are scoring lots of goals and not conceding too many – and also taking advantage of this run of home fixtures which we have had at the start of the season.”