By Brian Bennett | Photo: Ian Brodie

Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner admitted after his sides single goal defeat against Cleethorpes Town on Saturday that it was a ‘hard one to take.’

Shortly after half time, Will Annan scored for the Owls then Skinner looked on as his outfit were unable to find the net despite carving out a handful of chances inside the final quarter hour.

The boss said afterwards: “It was a hard one to take today to be honest because I thought from one to 16 we were really, really good. We looked very well organised and limited them (Cleethorpes) to very little. In fact they only had one shot on target and scored and it came from a little bit of an error and Paul Van-Zandvliet is distraught by it. Mistakes are part of the game and at the moment we just seem to get punished when we make them. However, I’m not sure I could have asked much more from the players today.”

He continued: “There wasn’t a lot in the game if I’m honest. First half we had a chance early on cleared off the line and I don’t think they (Cleethorpes) had a shot on target in the first half. After the break, we came out and did okay and were on for what I would call as being a classic away performance whereby we were solid and we tried to play on the counter attack. The mistake led to the goal and they (Cleethorpes) have scored. With 20 minutes to go we changed one or two things to go on the front foot and we’ve dominated possession. We’ve also created some very good chances; their ‘keeper (James McKeown) has made two or three very good saves; we’ve had a couple of scrambles in the box whilst Craig Spooner has hit the bar – and I don’t anyone could have complained had we taken something from the game.”

He went on: “Nobody likes to get beat and I acknowledge that we have lost but I’m not sure the performance warranted a defeat today and its one of them where at the end I said to the lads ‘listen, you’ve performed really well both in and out of possession; we’ve had a plan and stuck to it and on another day we could have won it or at least certainly taken a point.’ If you look at statistics we will have had more of the ball than them (Cleethorpes) and had more shots than them both on and off target – but we just haven’t put the ball in the net.”

For the all round trip of over 350 miles to North East Lincolnshire, Skinner travelled down without nine players and he said: “Nine were out but I’m not using that as an excuse – far from it. The lads who played today stood up and were counted and were brilliant – and it shows the strength and depth of the squad that we have got. Cleethorpes are on a good run whilst we were also on a good run and I thought we deserved something from the game. However sometimes football can be cruel and we’ve been punished for a mistake and we’ll learn by it. We’ll dust ourselves down; train twice this week and prepare for Stockton Town at home on Saturday.”