By Brian Bennett | Photo: Ian Brodie
Oli Thompson says he is delighted to link up with Ashington on a loan deal from Gateshead.
The Sunderland-born youngster, who only turned 18 last month, made his debut for the Colliers in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Stocksbridge Park Steels at Bracken Moor – and claimed an assist for the opening goal headed home by Charlie Exley – before making his first appearance at Woodhorn Lane in Monday’s 2-0 defeat by Consett.
“I’m delighted to join Ashington,” said Thompson, “I need minutes in the tank and Gateshead sorted the loan out for me. I think I can develop here (at Ashington) and become a better player and hopefully when I return to Gateshead, I’ll have a lot to thank Ashington for.”
Looking back at his first appearance in a black and white shirt, he said: “Overall I was happy but I did feel a bit leggy in the second half because that was my first 90 minutes in about three or four months. I thought we deserved to win in the end. For the first 20-25 minutes we were bopping the ball about quite well and they (Stocksbridge) couldn’t quite get near us but the penalty which they equalised from was a turning point and the game switched momentum in their favour. However we got the winner in the second half so I was happy.”
Thompson was honest about the part he played in Exley’s goal: “I’m not going to lie,” he said, “It was a shot but it worked out well in the end, with Charlie (Exley) heading the ball in at the back post.”
Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner said: “Oli is somebody who I know very, very well. I had a year coaching him in the youth team (at Gateshead) and he was brilliant. The game everybody will remember is against Blyth Spartans. We were 3-1 down; Oli then scored a hat trick and we won 4-3. Through his own hard work, endeavour and willingness to listen and learn he managed to earn himself a professional contract at Gateshead and he’s been really bright and sharp for the first team in pre season. He’s a little bit unlucky to find himself out on loan to be honest because Gateshead do really think he has a big future but the plus side with that is my relationship with them and Oli.”
Thompson has signed on a season long loan with a recall option any time after 28 days and Skinner added: “I jumped at the opportunity to take Oli because I think he will offer us that little bit of something different and people who watched him play at Stocksbridge will have seen that he’s happy to take the ball under pressure; he’s low centre gravity and can twist and turn one way and the other. He’ll run at people and cause them problems; his range of passing is good and he’ll chip in with a few goals so I think he’ll be a really positive player for us and I’m just delighted that we have got him.” He went on: “In the opening 15 minutes against Stocksbridge Oli was brilliant. He played the pass for one of Wilson Kneeshaw’s one on ones; he put the ball in for Charlie Exley to score; he had an effort where he picked the ball up on the edge of our own box and ran the full length of the pitch and stung the ‘keeper’s hands who had to turn it over for a corner. We probably and possibly could have withdrawn him but you just know if you get him on the ball, he can create something in an instant. I’m just looking forward to working with him and hopefully helping him to develop further.”