By Brian Bennett | Photo: Rachel McDonald

Ashington bowed out of the Emirates FA Cup at the fourth qualifying round stage after a 3-1 defeat against King’s Lynn on Saturday.

However, manager Ian Skinner praised his players to the hilt, describing them as having been ‘immense.’

Luke Salmon scored for the Colliers as his side footed finish cancelled out Ben Stephens’s opener for the home side. Jordan Ponticelli restored the lead for the Linnets before Adam Crowther’s close range effort sealed the win.

Skinner said afterwards: “Full credit to the players because they have been immense throughout the whole competition which is a bit ruthless. We’ve enjoyed the spotlight being on us a little bit but the minute you’re out, it dusts you off and throws you away. We were certainly not disgraced and gave a good account of ourselves – and what we have got to do now is take the pats on the back and the plaudits for the cup run we’ve had.”

He continued: “I thought in the first half we struggled to get to grips a little bit with the movement of King’s Lynn’s front four which was very, very good. Because I wanted us to play on the front foot a little bit, we didn’t change how we play so I might have to take a little bit of responsibility for us being a bit too open in the early exchanges. Obviously it was an individual error for their first goal but our ‘keeper Karl Dryden has been brilliant for us and had made two good saves beforehand – and he made another couple in the second half so it’s not something which we will dwell on too much. We’ve then scored a good goal to draw level and it was the first time we sort of put one or two passes together which was pleasing. Their second goal looked offside from my position if I’m honest and a lot of people said the same thing – but the goal stood and we had to get on with it. Then we’ve made a little tactical change just before half time, (bringing on Damen Mullen for Yannick Aziakonou) and once we made it, I just thought we looked a bit more solid and got to grips with things a little bit in the middle of the park.”

He went on: “Second half if I’m honest, I thought we were the better team for 20 minutes but in that period, we didn’t quite threaten their goal enough. Albeit we got into some good positions and the ball either didn’t quite drop for us or we snatched at it a little bit but as the game went on, I still thought there was a chance we could pinch something and bring them back to our place on Tuesday night. But to concede the third from a set play was disappointing. We had done a little bit of work on their set plays about double headers and when that went in I think it knocked the stuffing out of us a little bit. We’ve then got to change the way we play and be a little bit more direct and try and get the ball forward which doesn’t suit us to be fair and in the end they (King’s Lynn) ran out 3-1 winners.”

He added: “Now we now need to focus on the ambition – which is to try and move up the footballing pyramid and hopefully get to a position which Kings Lynn find themselves in now – which is top of the National League North. Throughout the FA Cup competition, we’ve played teams from higher up in the pyramid and we’ve seen that the current squad that we have got can hold their own. It’s up to us to be consistent enough in our division to give us the opportunity to maybes play the likes of the teams we have done in the competition (FA Cup) on a weekly basis and that will be the aim moving forward.”