By Brian Bennett | Photo: Ian Brodie

Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner said his side ‘lost their way’ during the 4-1 defeat against Stockton Town at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday.

The Teessiders looked a well drilled and organised outfit – but after going into the interval with the game goalless, Skinner commented: “At half time I was happy. We chatted about one or two things and we talked about being a little bit more positive and playing a little bit more on the front foot but I thought we came out and started really poor and Stockton were brighter than us. Then we lost our way and they scored a really good second goal. We made some changes and tried to push real high numbers up front to just try and steal some territory and pin them (Stockton) back a little bit – and we did that for a little spell only we didn’t really threaten the goal anywhere near enough. We moved the ball too slow and allowed Stockton to get into a low block and credit to them because they worked really hard. After that whether it was a lack of belief that we weren’t going to break them down I don’t know but they (Stockton) scored two goals in the last few minutes which was really disappointing. However all in all, I don’t think anybody can begrudge Stockton leaving here with three points as I thought the best team on the day won.”

Skinner said his outfit did well in a first half which he found to be ‘uneventful.’ He added: “I thought Stockton started the game brighter than us; they were on the front foot and quicker than us and they moved the ball with pace and purpose more than we did. However credit to our lads as we managed to dig in and find a way into the game and the second half of the first half petered out into a sparring match where both sides had the ball for a little while but there weren’t any real great opportunities and I thought it was a pretty uneventful first half.”

Skinner described Wilson Kneeshaw’s late goal as being the only ‘bright spot’ in the second 45 minutes: “To be fair the only bright spot for us to take out of the second half was Wilson’s goal. I thought he worked tirelessly all day and we’ve tried to really work with him, looking for him to run in behind – which is more of his strength – and to use his pace albeit I thought when he did get in behind and took all those extra touches he might have missed the chance which resulted in the goal – but fair play to him. He’s danced inside and danced inside again so I was pleased for him.”

Ashington now have two away games on consecutive Saturdays – against Winterton Rangers and Sheffield FC – and the boss added: “We have got two huge fixtures coming up – they’ll not be easy but we’ll prepare properly as we always do. We’ll study the video footage this week from the Stockton game and review it as a group – but what we won’t do is to fall out with each other. There’s still a long way to go in the season but the sooner we start winning games of football the better.”

Meanwhile Skinner spoke about the updates on four players. He said: “Striker Scott Heslop has chosen to go to Birtley Town and we wish him all the best whilst Oli Thompson picked up an injury at Gateshead hence that’s why he hasn’t been available.  Max Emmerson has been out of action for the best part of two years. He’s getting five minutes here and ten minutes there and I think we’re at a stage with him now where he really needs to go and test himself in terms of playing regular so he’s going to Whickham on a 28 days loan. Charlie Exley – who is suspended for us at step 4 level – can play at the level below us so we’ve allowed him to join West Auckland also on a 28 days loan.”

He concluded: “We are actively looking to possibly bring in one or two players but at the moment it’s difficult to do that.”