By Brian Bennett

Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner was disappointed that his outfit conceded a late goal against Carlisle City on Tuesday night – but was nevertheless happy with what he described as being ‘a battling performance.’

Paul Robinson fired the Colliers ahead shortly before half time and the goal looked to be leading the Wansbeck side to a sixth consecutive league win – until Brandon Longcake netted for the Cumbrians five minutes from time which left Skinner frustrated: “A point on the road is not always a bad point,” he said, “But when you concede so late – with 85 minutes gone on the clock – its disappointing not to hold on.”

He continued: “We have got to defend that ball coming into the box better although it was a decent finish by the lad to be fair and I think the ball hit the same part of the net for both goals! However, there were lots to be pleased with and I thought it was a decent battling performance. We have travelled across to Cumbria this evening and have utilised the squad – a squad without ten players – and of those ten, probably seven of them would argue that they would probably get into what people might think is our best eleven. But that said, there are lads who have come into the side tonight and who were brilliant – people like Ben Sampson who hasn’t played a lot of football this season, has missed out through injury and then had to be a little bit patient; Yannick Aziakonou and Danny Anderson have come back into the side and in Danny’s case, he hadn’t played many minutes. It was also Thomas Kalthoeber’s first game back from injury – so there were lots of plus points in terms of the depth which we have got in the squad.”

He went on: “We went 1-0 and in the first couple of minutes after the break, Dean Briggs has gone clean through but had a heavy touch and the ‘keeper (Stephen Townsley) has come out fast off his line and done well to be fair to him. However, chances were at a premium in the second half – I can’t remember either ‘keeper having much to do – but Karl Dryden’s handling was good and everything else when hit from range, he has dealt with comfortably.”

He added: “I thought we sat off a little bit too much in the second half if I’m honest and switched off a little bit for the equaliser. We did really well to block the first effort but the ball has gone wide and we haven’t defended the cross which was disappointing. In situations like that, we’ve got to get out to the ball quicker as it (the ball) drops. However, we take the point and will dust ourselves down ahead of the Emirates FA Cup against Ashton United on Saturday.”

For the trip down to Manchester, strikers Dan Maguire and Lee Mason are both ruled out through injury whilst Robbie Dale is rated ‘very doubtful’ whilst the boss says he will need to check on the fitness of ‘two or three’ other players.