By Brian Bennett

Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner has praised the Woodhorn Lane fans following his sides 3-0 win in their Emirates FA Cup first qualifying round replay against Ashton United on Tuesday night.

Spurring their team on from minute one, Skinner said: “The fans have been brilliant all season and they were on top form again tonight. It’s been nice to give them lots to shout about other than the one disappointing result we’ve had so far this term (the loss to Billingham Town in the Isuzu FA Vase). To be fair went you look at it, it was a little bit of a win, win situation for us. If we won then its headline news because we’ve beaten a team who are two divisions above us; if we lost then people would have said ‘well Ashton should win because of their higher status!’

He continued: “I don’t like using the phase ‘free hit’ because there is no such thing as a free hit in football but I think the crowd came tonight thinking as long as the lads give everything and played to the levels which they are capable of and put on a good performance, that they would be proud of them and they would accept it. We’ve done that – and it was good enough to win the game and it was double delight really in terms of their fantastic support. We’ve given them the result which sent them home with a smile on their faces and hopefully they will turn out in their numbers and bring their voices again for the next round when we host Bradford Park Avenue on Saturday week (September 17).