By Brian Bennett
A delighted Ian Skinner emerged from a happy Ashington dressing room on Saturday night after his outfit had demolished Carlton Town by a 4-0 score line at Woodhorn Lane.
And the boss – who labelled his sides display as being ‘magnificent’ – added that the performance was one of the best of the season.
Skinner’s team were rampant from the off and sailed into an early two goals lead through Connor Thomson and Dan Maguire. At the start of the second period, substitute Oli Thompson and Connor Thomson were both on target and the Colliers should have added more to their tally.
“The lads deserve full credit – each and every one of them including the couple of lads who didn’t get onto the pitch today,” said Skinner afterwards, “We knew beforehand that it was going to be a tough game. However, from the information we had gathered on Carlton, we had a plan which we thought could cause them some problems – and all credit to the players who I just thought were ‘at it’ and brilliant from the first whistle. We talked about how we have made a couple of long journeys this season including last week when we went down to Grantham and how difficult it can be regardless of how early you arrive at the ground and how vigorous the warm up is to get the journey out of your system. So we spoke about being at home; being on the front foot; starting really positively and playing at pace – and I think we did all of those things and raced into a 2-0 lead, with two very good goals to be honest.”
Skinner then bumped into an unusual on-field situation – one which he reckons he has never had to face before: “There was a crazy little period in the game where we lost three players to injury,” he added, “I’ve lost a left centre back (Darren Lough) and a left back (Jordan Summerly) so we’ve had to shuffle the pack then one of the subs we brought on (Cam Gascoigne) has also gone off injured and I don’t think I’ve ever been involved in a game where I’ve had to make three substitutions in the first half hour. But again credit to the lads because it meant two or three reshuffles and slight tweaks to how we had originally lined up and I thought we dominated the game if the truth be known. Carlton had a couple of threats from set plays; long throws; a couple of corners and free-kicks where our ‘keeper Karl Dryden has either claimed the ball or we have defended the box really well but I thought we looked a constant threat on the break.”
He continued: “To be honest, it was nice to get in at half time so we could just settle on a few things and get some real clarity into what shape we were playing. We managed to do that and we talked about looking to keep the ball and make them (Carlton) have to chase and come towards us. We thought we could really hurt them on the counter attack – and we scored two brilliant counter-attacking goals at the start of the second half. Carlton just couldn’t cope with the pace; the movement and the power we had up front today. We’ve won 4-0 and scored four very good goals and should had a few more but listen, the players were magnificent – every single one of them. I think it’s up there as being one of our best performances of the season and I told the lads in the dressing room to go and enjoy the rest of the weekend because they deserve it.”
On Saturday (November 18), Ashington go to North Ferriby and Skinner concluded: “They are a good footballing side – so it should be a cracking game.”