By Brian Bennett | Photo: Ian Brodie

Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner admitted after the 4-2 defeat against Newton Aycliffe that he got ‘one or two calls wrong’ – but he also spoke about being disappointed with the performance from his players which fell short of what he expects from them.

It’s only a month ago that the Colliers turned in an outstanding display as they blew North Ferriby away 5-0 – but on Saturday they plunged to the other end of the scale with an abject showing against the Newtonians.

Skinner said: “I’m bitterly disappointed. The lads are a great group who I like to spend time with but today they fell short of what I expect of them and it’s a little bit of an achilles heel that we appear to have. We seem to hit heights of a good run – which we have been on – but when it comes to an end, we seem to feel sorry for ourselves a little bit and I thought across the 90 minutes today, we were poor. I’ve got no complaints about the outcome – Newton Aycliffe were the better side and deserved to win the game. They dealt with the wind better than we did; they worked harder and a game like today with the conditions the way they were, it was very much going to be about work rate first and then little bits of brilliance or good play second. I thought Newton Aycliffe outscored us on all of that and even some of their play was better than ours at times.”

Skinner reflected on a first half where his team went into the break with the scores level at 1-1 after they had battled against the strong wind: “I thought we were poor in the first half,” he added, “I gave the lads the benefit of the doubt in terms of how difficult the conditions were – but I did say to them that I thought they made it look harder than it was and that we needed to be much better in the second half. We looked like a team who thought ‘we’ve done the hard bit of dealing with playing against the wind and maybes it’s just going to happen for us’ – although I’d like to think this wasn’t the case. However the really frustrating thing is if we are going to defend like we did in the first 15-20 minutes of the second half – and by that I mean from goalkeeper Karl Dryden all the way through to the two centre forwards because we defend collectively as a unit – we will not win many games of football this season because the defending in the space and the reaction to the goals we have conceded is very, very frustrating. I almost wish I had access to the footage now because having watched them live, they were very, very poor goals to concede. After Aycliffe went 3-1 up, we just seemed to lose our way and we were very negative in our passing, wanting to go back.”

Skinner believed his players weren’t ‘at it’ throughout: “I think we had a half chance in the opening minutes where we got in,” he said, “Then other than that it was very much where the play was in our half, with us trying to play out against the wind and Newton Aycliffe obviously trying to win the ball back and attack our goal. We did get out with a great little move when we got the ball to Oli Thompson – who I thought looked a threat all the way through the first half. He picked up possession and did what he does well – whereby he’s got that great ability to shift his weight from one side to the other! Oli has gone on a good run and he’s played the ball down the side for Wilson Kneeshaw who was in and who has broke into the box. It looked like a shot by Wilson and it was probably just going wide of the far post but Connor (Thomson) has tapped it in. You then think ‘brilliant because when we go 1-0 up this team have a tendency to go on and win games of football – but what you can’t do is to concede within a minute. Every goal you can strip it back to being a mistake and it’s interesting that statistically conceding a goal so quickly after scoring one has more of an impact on you than actually scoring the first goal in a game. However, overall, I just thought we weren’t ‘at it’ this afternoon.”

He went on: “Obviously after a defeat like today everybody has to take a look at themselves – myself included – and I think there were one or two decisions that I possibly got wrong. I’ll take that onboard and go away and reflect as well – just like we ask the players to go away and reflect on their performances. All in all it was a bad day at the office with lots of things that didn’t quite go our way but I think the key headline for me is ‘disappointed and I expect better.’