By Brian Bennett
In many ways, Ashington’s 5-0 demolition over North Ferriby on Saturday was reminiscent of their majestic performance against Glossop North End in the Inter Step play off victory which earned them promotion to the Pitching In Northern Premier League.
Also at the end of April, the volume which the travelling band of supporters generated down in Derbyshire was unbelievable – and the fifty or more fans that made the trip down to North Ferriby gave their side noisy backing throughout the 90 minutes.
In reply, the players gave the supporters plenty to shout about especially in the second half. After a goalless first period, Wilson Kneeshaw and Conor Thompson both netted twice and in the closing stages Craig Spooner also got his name on the score sheet.
Ashington manager Ian Skinner was obviously jubilant with the crushing win but when he emerged from the dressing room, he immediately deflected all of the praise onto his players: “Listen, the boys deserve all of the credit,” said the boss, “we are on this run of form whereby everybody is buying into what we are trying to do and everybody is together. When we’re on our game, it’ll take a lot to beat us – but we just need to make sure that we’re ‘on it’ week in week out because it’s a tough league. However, little tiny things really please me and late in the second half we may have been 3-0 up at the time when their number ten (Josh Whitley) – who I thought was excellent – went clean through. Our ‘keeper Karl Dryden has come rushing out; the number ten has gone around Karl but Kyle Errington has busted a gut to get back and block the ball on the line. Five or six players of our lads have then run over and patted Kyle on the back – and that’s what this group of players are about.”
He continued: “We only trained once during the week due to the amount of injuries we had plus unavailability and we travelled down today knowing that it was going to be a good footballing game. Hats off to North Ferriby who try and play similar to us and I think that showed in the first half because it was pretty even if the truth be known. We had a great chance very early in the game where Conor Thomson has gone clean through and the ‘keeper (Jordan Douglas) has done really well to save. North Ferriby had a couple of chances and I remember one lad has skipped past one or two challenges and gone around Karl (Dryden) but we’ve blocked it on the line.”
He added: “At half time we got in and said to the players that we couldn’t ask for much more really in terms of the performance and we always thought we would be a threat going forward because of the pace and power which we had. I thought we started the second half really brightly. There were a couple of good quick incisive passing moves and we managed to get runners in behind – and we scored within two minutes of the restart. Then when we get in front, this group of players are really difficult to play against because they know that the opposition have to come out and try and have a go at us. When teams do that, it leaves space for us and with our forward players, we know we will hurt anybody – and today we’ve been clinical and got through the back line maybes up to six times and ended up scoring five goals. The other pleasing side of that was how when we were even 4-0 up, the lads were still throwing their bodies in the way and defending the box manfully. I’m delighted because they are an unbelievable group of players who I enjoy spending time with and they can achieve whatever they want to achieve – only I don’t tell them that very often because if I did they may take their eyes off the ball. At times we are our own worst enemy – and that’s why we always keep on their backs to be the best they can be.”
He went on: “We lost Karl Ross late in the first half and I keep saying that injuries are part and parcel of the game but we travelled down today without eight players – hence why we could only name three substitutes including Morgan Dart, a young lad who we have signed. In the last two weeks, when the players are on their game and ‘at it’ – we are as good a side as anybody in this division.”