By Brian Bennett | Photo: Ian Brodie
Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner admitted that Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Pickering Town was by no means a classic – but it was nevertheless a case of job done.
Lee Mason – on his return to the starting line up – scored the goal shortly before the interval and Skinner said: “Obviously the place was a little bit flat after our defeat at Whickham on Tuesday night. We trained on Thursday and you could still see that there was a little bit of a hangover so all we tried to do was to take pressure off everybody and say ‘listen there’s a game of football on Saturday where we need to win. If we play to the levels which we are capable of, we can do that and we’ll worry about what happens after that.”
He continued: “I didn’t think it was a classic. Obviously Pickering are scrapping for their lives in the first division and I think they would have taken a 0-0 result from kick off! We expected that a little bit and we planned for them to sit in a little bit. We certainly dominated the ball and got into some good areas but didn’t really work the goalkeeper enough in the first half. And then to be fair from their corner, we broke really, really quickly and Lee Mason has put us in front with a tremendous goal.”
He went on: “Second half I thought we did everything right apart from adding to the score sheet and it’s a situation where you look at it and you think that although you are dominating the ball and getting into some key areas, whilst it’s only 1-0 there’s always a risk. I had a really attacking bench and you think ‘do I start and put two or three of those players on and see if we can get another goal when really 1-0 wins the game?’ so you are stuck in little bit of a catch 22 situation to be honest. With the pitch being difficult and having played on Tuesday, one or two of the players tired a little bit so I just got some fresh legs on to give us a bit impetus. It would have been nice to have got a second goal but ‘job done’ probably sums it up. We said before the game we needed to win against a team who were content to concede ground and sit in behind the ball and let us have it and even as the game drew on, they didn’t throw too many numbers forward. But what I liked about today is that we’ve bounced back – so credit to the players for that.”
Ashington now go to Whitley Bay on Good Friday and Skinner said: “It’s still about taking one game at a time. I know it’s a cliché but it’s all about on the day in the Northern League – anybody can beat anybody and this league is so unpredictable. We have got four games left and our aim is to take 12 points. Whitley Bay will be a tough game – it’s a tough place to go – and their manager Nicky Gray will have his side fired up. We’ll train on Tuesday and prepare for the clash but we’ll certainly not be looking beyond that.”
Defender Darren Lough has served his suspension and will be available for the encounter at Hillheads which has a 12 noon kick off.