By Brian Bennett
Ashington Football Club’s assistant manager Andy Coyles was naturally delighted on Saturday night after a goal by substitute Adam Johnson had secured the Colliers all three points against Crook Town – and also a third consecutive win.
Johnson’s all important strike came in the 37th minute and proved to be decisive as the Wansbeck side returned to winning ways only three days after suffering the disappointment of exiting the Techflow Marine Northumberland Senior Cup following their 3-1 reverse against Heaton Stannington at Grounsell Park.
Whitehaven-born Coyles said: “That’s three league wins on the spin and it was a comprehensive result. I thought we were in control of the game for the majority and any wave that Crook had, we cancelled it out quite quickly and effectively. Although our ball retention was ‘off’ by our own standards in the first half, we improved massively in the second. But we came here to get three points and when you look at results today where Whitley Bay have dropped points it’s a bonus. I thought everybody contributed today in some way, shape or form and there were some really pleasing performances there today. However, we’ve bounced back after a really disappointing result in midweek and we’re just happy to walk away from Crook with a clean sheet and overall what was a solid performance.”
The defeat against Heaton Stannington ended Ashington’s hopes for cup silverware this season and Coyles added: “We can focus solely on the league now – there are no other competitions to think about. We’ve got 16 games left but there’s still a long, long way to go. A few weeks ago I think people were getting carried away with where we could be but it’s a very long season. We’ve got to keep plugging away and hope we can try and get ourselves a cushion between now and the final quarter of the season because we’ve got some tough fixtures coming up – but if we can continue to put in performances like today and walk away with 1-0 wins each week then we’ll take them all day long.”
The 37 year old continued: “It has to be the old cliché of taking one game at a time – and that’s the way it should be. You shouldn’t be thinking about any other fixture and that’s what we are doing with our squad. We’ve got a big pool of players – a few with niggles – and all we are looking to do is put our best team out each week and then worry about the next game afterwards.” Ashington made five changes to the starting line up from Wednesday and Coyles added: “A few players were selected on merit because they worked exceptionally hard in training which should be about getting into good routines for the game and about fighting for your spot to get in that starting eleven. Today (at Crook), two or three players got in off the back of their performances and attitudes in training.”