By Brian Bennett | Photo: Ian Brodie
Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner was naturally euphoric after his sides convincing 5-0 win over Ebac Northern League first division leaders Bishop Auckland at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday.
Lee Mason fired the Colliers ahead in the first half then the goals flowed after the break with Ben Harmison hitting a brace (including one from the penalty spot), Dan Maguire and a Ben Sampson special.
The boss said that the club will enjoy the moment – until the players return to training this week: “We do this as a hobby and when you win any football match 5-0 – let alone against a team who are a great side and who will be there or thereabouts at the top end of the table come the end of the season – it would be daft for us not to go and enjoy it,” he said, “When we win a match, it puts a smile on faces in the camp and rightly so – but the message is to enjoy the result now because we’ll be back on the training pitch and back to working hard on Tuesday night. The victory over Bishop Auckland will be put to bed and we’ll be turning all of our attentions towards our away match against Northallerton on Saturday.”
Looking back on the first half, the boss said: “If I’m honest, at 3pm all we wanted to do was to win a home game – and we’ve done that. I thought they (Bishop Auckland) probably started better than us and there’s a big moment after about seven minutes when our ‘keeper Karl Dryden makes a brilliant save. Whether that woke us up a little bit I don’t know but I just thought for the first 10-15 minutes they (Bishop Auckland) were probably slightly the better side and we grew into the game. Obviously to take the lead helps – and it was a good goal. Ben Harmison has headed down a cross and Lee Mason’s thunderbolt was a great strike. Lee (Mason) strikes a ball lovely – we’ve seen him do it at Thornaby recently and other places also spring to mind. After that, the first half was quite tentative and quite close – which we thought the whole game would be.”
He continued: “Second half I thought we just looked as if we were at it a little bit more and it was nice for a change that we have punished mistakes which the opposition have made. When we got the second goal, we really looked to control the game and didn’t give them (Bishop Auckland) a moment to settle. We took our chances when they came and I thought we looked a bit stronger than them and wanted it that little bit more. For our second goal I definitely thought it was a penalty and obviously Ben Harmison – having missed one recently – has stepped up to take it and scored then we’ve gone on to add some really good goals including a terrific effort from Ben Sampson.”
He went on: “All in all to win 5-0 against Bishop Auckland – who are having a fantastic season and who have got a fantastic squad – is very satisfying. Obviously the clean sheets are pleasing and again our goalkeeper Karl Dryden has made a good save at 5-0 from a free kick to preserve that clean sheet. We have only played 13 league games and it’s a great result today – but we won’t be getting carried away. It’s a home win in front of another magnificent crowd; we have scored five goals to boot; added three points onto our tally and plus five on the goal difference. Following our exit in the Emirates FA Cup against King’s Lynn, we drew one and lost one of our next two league games and a lot was said about it with people calling it a cup hangover. Probably too big of a point was made of it but it’s great that the players have taken it on board and gone to Thornaby and won then backed that up with two wins from two home games. As I have already said, if you win your home matches and pick up points on the road, then you are on track to have a pretty good season – and with only one game at Woodhorn Lane out of the next eight, a steady stream of away games is rapidly approaching.”
For Saturday’s trip to North Yorkshire (November 12), Skinner said: “We will need to check on one or two bumps and bruises but we’d like to think Paul Robinson will be available for selection although the game will probably come too early for Robbie Dale and Dean Briggs.”