By Brian Bennett | Photo: Ian Brodie
Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner was delighted after his side had collected three wins last week – but stressed that everyone within the dressing room are keeping their feet firmly on the ground.
Skinner looked on as the Colliers successfully saw off challenges from Guisborough Town, Redcar Athletic and West Auckland respectively to take over third place in the Ebac Northern League’s first division.
Ashington’s goals in the 4-0 win against West Auckland on Saturday came from Craig Spooner (2), Ben Harmison and Karl Ross – and a beaming Skinner commented afterwards: “We’ve taken nine points from nine; have scored nine goals and haven’t conceded one. I said we faced a big week – and I don’t think I could have asked for much more. We are most definitely going in the right direction – but we are not getting carried away and it’s still a case of taking one game at a time.”
Combining his thoughts from consecutive 4-0 victories (over Redcar Athletic and West Auckland respectively), the boss added: “I was pleased against Redcar on Tuesday night. Although the first half performance wasn’t too disappointing, I just thought we were a little bit slow at times but second half we played a little bit quicker. The challenge today (v West Auckland) was to start the game really quickly whilst the pitch was wet. We knew it (the pitch) was going to be heavy and knew it would cut up later in the game so we needed to try and do all of our best work as early as we possibly could. I thought we began really brightly and dominated the ball – and it was just a case of taking care in the final third which we’ve mentioned on a few occasions. Then we’ve scored with a good strike from the edge of the box by Craig Spooner and the second goal shortly before half time was a brilliantly worked move.”
He continued: “At the interval, we said to the lads, ‘look, let’s keep going the way we are; let’s keep moving the ball; let’s keep doing the right things and play with pace and purpose – and we had the benefit of scoring another two (goals) in the first six minutes of the second half which made the game relatively comfortable. We lost our way a little bit towards the last 15 minutes but that was a combination of a couple of things – tired legs on a heavy pitch and multiple changes (substitutions) and it’s difficult for the lads to then get up to the speed of the game.”
He went on: “Overall the performance today was very, very pleasing and credit to the players who were brilliant to top off what has been an excellent week. We’ll enjoy it and then report back for training to prepare for our away game against Newcastle Benfield on Friday (February 24) – which is never an easy place to go.”
On the team news front, Skinner said: “Lewis Green will come back into contention whilst Adam Johnson could return to the squad after missing the last two games through working commitments. However, we think the game will probably could come too soon for Dean Briggs who was forced off through injury in the game against Redcar.” Friday’s match has a 7.30pm kick-off.