By Brian Bennett | Photo: Ian Brodie
Assistant manager Andy Coyles praised the Ashington players for a job ‘well done’ – following their comfortable 3-0 victory over Thornaby at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday.
Ahead of kick-off, the result was crucial for both clubs. Woodhorn Lane boss Ian Skinner had described it as being a ‘must win’ game if his side wanted to push for a play off spot whilst the Teessiders needed maximum points from their final two games to have any chance of avoiding the relegation trap door.
The Wansbeck side got off to a great start with Craig Spooner giving them the lead after ten minutes then early in the second period, Spooner – with a beauty – and Paul Robinson added quickfire goals to cement the win.
Had it not been for an outstanding display between the posts by Thornaby’s experienced ‘keeper Robert Dean, Ashington would have scored a lot more, such was their dominance and craft at carving out opportunities.
A delighted Coyles said: “I thought there was a lot of pressure riding on the game because we knew what we needed to do in order for us to keep in contention for a play off final spot. We also realised how important the game was for Thornaby knowing that they needed to win their last two games to stand any chance of staying up – and sometimes that can be a dangerous animal to be up against. However, as far as I was concerned, I thought we dealt with the pressure really well and it was a job ‘well done’ by the lads. It was also our last home game of the season and we wanted to put on a performance for our supporters who have come out in their numbers again today and who have been absolutely superb all season.”
Coyles was equally pleased with Spooner’s early opener: “Taking the lead in the tenth minute calmed the nerves and settled us down,” he added, “It allowed us to play – and for the first 20 minutes we were excellent. We spoke to the lads at half time because after that opening 20 minutes, we dropped our standards. We allowed the pace of the game to drop and it took us a while to get back into it.”
He continued: “Second half the lads turned it on once again and for the first quarter of an hour were brilliant. It was nice to see a bit of fluidity to our passing and I also thought the energy levels from start to finish and the desire to win the ball back was exactly what we wanted.” He concluded: “I’d like to think that we put on a good show for the fans today. The scoreline could have been a lot more – but you can’t be greedy.”