By Brian Bennett
Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner used the words ‘disappointing’ and ‘poor’ to describe several aspects of his sides performance in the 3-3 draw against Newcastle Benfield at Woodhorn Lane on Tuesday night.
“It was a disappointing performance,” he said afterwards, “There were lots of things to be disappointed with which isn’t something I’ve had to say too many times this season. I thought the goals we conceded were really, really poor from a defensive point of view – and when I say that, I mean the team collectively. The areas in which we lost the ball which led to the goals and then the desire and the want to get back and make it difficult was disappointing. I thought we didn’t pass the ball anywhere near as well as we can do and we found ourselves two goals down from two shots on target. For the second one, their ‘keeper (Andrew Grainger) has caught the ball from our corner and we were left short at the back. People will tell you every goal you concede you can dissect but ours were really poor this evening and if we defend like that as a team collectively on a consistent basis, we’ll give ourselves difficulties in games.”
He continued: “However, we have again showed good character to come back and get back into the game at 2-1 which was important before half time and then I thought we started the second half quite well. We moved the ball quite well and have fashioned a couple of chances – then scored from a penalty to equalise. The momentum was with us but we go and concede again – and it gives Benfield something to try and sit in and defend and the goal which we have conceded is very, very disappointing. After that I felt we became very disjointed and although Benfield didn’t offer too much going forward, when they did, they looked like they were going to break on us on multiple occasions.” He went on: “We got into a little bit of a ‘everybody wants to go forward and nobody wants to get back’ mentality which was part of the reason why we conceded the third goal. Whether it was the excitement of ‘we were back in it at 2-2 and we are going to go on and win this’ I don’t know – but what we needed to realise was that there were another 40 minutes to go in the game and we didn’t need to try and win it in the next two minutes.”
He added: “We huffed and puffed but we just weren’t at it tonight and the biggest positive I can take from the result is that we haven’t lost and have taken something from the game. Moving forward, if we want to achieve our ambitions this season, we have to be better than that – starting with Saturday’s home game against Heaton Stannington.”