By Brian Bennett | Photo: Ian Brodie
Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner was clearly chuffed after his side returned to league duty against Tow Law at a windswept Woodhorn Lane on Saturday and ground out a 2-1 win.
The Colliers – a goal behind when Andrei-Vasile Ardelean stunned the home supporters as he put the Lawyers ahead – hit back to equalise through Luke Salmon before Ben Harmison clinched the points after scoring with a late penalty.
The fight back and consequent result was just the tonic for Skinner and the whole of the home contingent coming only four days after their pulsating and exhausting 3-0 win in their Emirates FA Cup replay against Stocksbridge Park Steels – and it meant the Colliers kept their unbeaten league record intact.
Skinner said afterwards: “You should always be pleased with a win. Conditions were difficult with a swirling strong wind and a pitch which was a little bit sticky and awkward at times. I thought we started the game quite brightly and moved the ball well but were a little bit passive especially coming down the bank with the wind on our backs. I just thought at times that we could have played forward a bit quicker instead of playing sideways and we fell into the trap where the player on the ball looks up and had lots of people running away from him with nobody really coming short. Midway through the first half, we changed our shape slightly to see if we could get a few more numbers forward and a couple of minutes after doing that we conceded – so I’ll take the blame for that. The messages may not have got on to the relevant people but we certainly got caught giving the ball away then were wide open and one pass has been played through to Ardelean who has finished it really well. Credit to us because we scored a great equaliser after what was a good move. Yannick (Aziakonou) has been really positive and stepped onto the ball before providing a great cross and Luke Salmon has made up a fantastic amount of ground to get to the back post and head it home so I was pleased with that.”
He continued: “Second half I thought we looked much better playing against the wind but sometimes the pleasing thing is that the wind forces you to have to play and takes away that little thought of ‘oh I can play a longer ball here’ and for long periods of the game I thought we dominated possession. Tow Law had one or two little counter attacks where they played direct in behind us and had one or two little moments where a chance could have developed. However, the only real opportunity they had was the one over the top and the centre forward has done well but our ‘keeper Karl Dryden has done well to force him really wide and from an acute angle, Ardelean has hit the outside of the post – other than that we limited them to very little.”
He went on: “We‘ve had a couple of good efforts where their ‘keeper (Thomas Orton) has made a brilliant save from Ben Sampson and a good save from Ben Harmison where he’s turned and hit it. We then got a penalty for handball and Ben (Harmison) has stepped up and scored and we’ve managed to see the game out. If someone had said to me beforehand that we would win 2-1, I would have taken it, so I’m delighted.”