By Brian Bennett
Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner saw his side go out of the Techflow Marine Northumberland Senior Cup on Wednesday night after they went down 3-1 against Heaton Stannington at Grounsell Park.
With a home tie beckoning for the winners of the clash, a quickfire start from the hosts – where they scored twice in the opening quarter hour – proved pivotal. Then after dominating the play, the Colliers conceded a third in the dying embers of the contest.
Skinner said: “I thought the three goals we conceded were very disappointing. Probably for about 70 minutes of the game we controlled it but the final third let us down. Obviously I’m disappointed but there are also mixed feelings to be fair. There were some things which I was really, really disappointed with whilst there were others which I was quite pleased with.”
Talking about the negative side, Skinner said: “I was disappointed with the way we started the game. We knew when we came here that they (Heaton Stannington) would come flying out at us; we knew that their threat was the two players with pace who they like to leave high (up the pitch) and play quickly into them. But after five minutes, we conceded a poor goal which was avoidable. We know the lad who has gone down the left is right footed so we know he wants to come inside – yet we’ve allowed him to do that and it opens the goal up and fair play to him (Konner Lamb), he finished it really well. Then the second goal is a mistake. Andrew Cartwright gave the ball away in a bad area – we got punished for it – and that puts us 2-0 down.”
However, the boss was pleased with the response from his side: “From that moment on for the rest of the half we actually came to life a little bit. We moved the ball and kept it better and caused them all sorts of problems – and we penned them in for probably the last 25 minutes of the half. We got the penalty which I didn’t think there was any doubt about and it was a fantastic finish from Damen Mullen from the spot – and if anybody wants to know how to take a penalty, I’ll send him the video!”
He continued: “We got in at half time and really gave the players a clear emphasis on what we expected from them in the second half in terms of how we wanted them to play and again I thought we dominated the ball. I think they (Heaton Stannington) only got into our half two or three times but to their credit, they battled and scrapped and made it difficult for us whilst we got into some fantastic areas but were too sloppy in the final third.”
The home side added a third goal in the closing minutes and Skinner said: “Again I was really disappointed because if anybody was going to score it should have been us. When they (Heaton Stannington) got a free kick, we know the lad Cassidy has got a decent delivery. Our ‘keeper Kyle Hayes, has made a fantastic save to be fair but they were first to react to it (scoring from the rebound), which probably sums up our night. We are out of a competition now where we would have had a home semi final tie but we wish Heaton Stannington all the best.”
He concluded: “We will train tonight (Thursday) as we prepare for our away clash in the league against Crook Town on Saturday but Andrew Cartwright and Yannick Aziakonou are both rated doubtful.”