By Brian Bennett | Photo: Ian Brodie
Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner admitted that his side had left it late before they claimed their 21st league win of the season with a 1-0 verdict over Guisborough Town at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday.
The Colliers consolidated their second from top placing in the first division of the Ebac Northern League thanks to a brilliant header by skipper Ben Harmison in the final minute of the 90 and a delighted Skinner said afterwards: “We left it late at home again but we got the three points and that’s all I asked for before the game. We now have eight games remaining and know what we have got to do to achieve what we want to achieve.”
Skinner added that his side took time to get into the contest against a resolute Guisborough side “I didn’t think we started the game particularly well,” he said, “Guisborough were brighter than us – and they had two really big chances. Michael McGee was clean through and our ‘keeper Karl Dryden has made a good save then Jack Blackford has hit the crossbar. It took us a while to get going but from the 18-20 minutes mark we came into our own, moved the ball a bit better and the theme of the game was that we got into some great wide areas but our final ball was below par. We scored a very good goal following a deep cross when Dan Maguire heads it back across and it comes off a Guisborough hand and Ben Harmison fires it into the roof of the net then for some reason, the referee has ruled that Maguire has handled it and disallowed the goal. However, although we came in level at the interval, we finished the half strongly.”
Skinner was happier with his side after the break: “Second half I thought we dominated large parts of the game,” he said, “Guisborough have sat really, really deep and tried to see if they could play a bit on the counter attack if I’m honest despite offering very little – and I can’t think of a save Karl (Dryden) had to make. We did really well in terms of managing possession. I thought we moved the ball and got into some key wide areas but that final ball let us down and as the clock ticks down you think ‘lady luck is not quite shining on us at the moment.’ Then we get a penalty and miss it and the amount of spot kicks we have spurned this season (five) is frightening to be fair. However there was a long, long delay from it (the penalty) being given to it actually being taken and that’s difficult to deal with physiologically. To our credit, we’ve kept the ball alive after the save by the goalkeeper and managed to hang a decent ball up to the back post – and If you want anybody to meet a ball hanging in the air from about three yards out at the back post, it’s Ben Harmison!”
Ashington now prepare for a trip to face Tow Law on Tuesday night (March 14) with the game potentially coming too soon for Scott Heslop and Darren Lough who are on their way back from injury.