By Brian Bennett
Ashington FC’s assistant manager Andy Coyles revealed that a half time pep talk paid dividends after the Colliers had swept Redcar Athletic away with an emphatic 4-0 victory at Woodhorn Lane on Tuesday night.
Coyles admitted that it wasn’t the ‘complete performance’ from the Wansbeck side – but said that the players had carried out the instructions given to them in the dressing room: “We just got at it a little bit more,” he commented, “We were disappointed at half time. Granted it was 0-0 and we had had a lot of possession but we just thought we had been quite lethargic in our play and the key was to move the ball a lot quicker and earlier and to be a bit more creative and add a bit more flair in the attacking third – and I thought we did that. Consequently we are extremely pleased. It wasn’t the complete performance by any means in terms of the standards we are trying to set – but if someone had suggested before the game that we would win 4-0, we’d have taken it hands down.”
Coyles reflected on the first period: “We hit the bar and there were a couple of chances just in front of goal; and a couple where we were stretching,” he added, “However we also rode our luck a couple of times as well; one where they (Redcar) have hit the post and the ball has gone along the line and where they had shots from the edge of the box. We created one or two chances in that first half and just wanted to make it six or seven.”
Ashington scored three goals inside quarter of an hour in the second period and Coyles said: “You make your own luck – and we certainly did that after the interval. After Ben Harmison’s opener, super sub Paul Robinson has added a second after a great decision by the gaffer (manager Ian Skinner) to bring him on. We wanted to make a couple of changes because we felt we needed to freshen things up. Obviously we had had a game 72 hours ago (at Guisborough) and we felt some players looked tired – then the other (an injury to Dean Briggs) was forced upon us. But Luke Salmon did well for himself and Craig Spooner did exceptionally well after dropping into that number ten role.”
Coyles added that skipper Harmison deserved his hat-trick: “Ben’s doing really well,” he said, “He’s a threat but it goes to show that it isn’t just about his aerial presence and prowess. He’s good with his feet and that’s why again at times, we were disappointed at Guisborough on Saturday and again tonight that we weren’t using him to his full assets. However, he took his chances exceptionally well and deserves the match ball.”
Ashington are back in action on Saturday (February 18) – with a second home game in five days – as they face West Auckland: “We now concentrate on West Auckland because they are the threat,” added Coyles, “As a group and as a club, we should remember that they inflicted a 4-0 defeat on us at their place which was quite a tough pill to swallow. So we need to focus and reset and just make sure that we can recover in time which I’m sure we will.”
Ashington picked up a few niggles from the game against Redcar Athletic and ahead of Saturday’s 3pm kick-off against the County Durham side, will run fitness tests on Dan Maguire and Dean Briggs.