By Brian Bennett
Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner said he was ‘slightly disappointed’ that his side had only picked up one point following their 3-3 draw against Brighouse Town on Saturday.
On a rain-soaked afternoon in West Yorkshire, the Colliers brought a run of three consecutive defeats to an end as they fought back on three occasions with Oli Thompson on the mark twice and Paul Van-Zandvliet scoring a last ditch equaliser.
The Woodhorn Lane boss said afterwards: “When you are losing 3-2 with 30 seconds left on the clock you take a point – but on another day I think it should have been three so in that respect, I’m slightly disappointed. The result stopped a run of disappointing results that we have been on and I thought there were lots to be pleased about with our performance today in what were very difficult conditions. There were contrasting styles and we had to adapt and change slightly due to the conditions and the pitch. Brighouse set up to press us really high and defended the half way line in the first half and similar to Tuesday night at Sheffield, we fashioned two or three fantastic chances which we failed to convert. Leading up to the opening goal, there was a little bit of sloppy play from us around our own box and Gary Ormston has tried to clear the ball – it’s gone up in the air – and their striker has got it and it led to a penalty which I thought was very harsh. I actually thought it was a foul on our goalkeeper (Karl Dryden) and I thought the referee has given it for the noise which he heard – but the noise he heard was their forward kicking Karl. Karl has come out and got the ball and then made himself ‘big’ and their striker has followed through and kicked him. The referee has heard the noise and the striker has screamed knowing that he kicked the goalkeeper and thinking he was in trouble. The referee has bought it and given a penalty and we find ourselves 1-0 down again.”
He continued: “At half time we made a couple of little tweaks about ways in which we thought we could cause them (Brighouse) even more problems and I thought we started the second half really brightly and scored a good equaliser. Then their second goal was quite fortuitous in terms of the ball takes a big deflection which puts the lad clean through and he finishes it. When teams are in a little bit of poor form like we are, little things like that go against you whilst when we were on our good run, those things went for us. However 2-1 down, we showed good character to come back and scored an almost identical second goal. After that, the only thing which disappointed me a little bit was we stopped doing the things that had caused them problems and led to us scoring two goals and we were really defensively poor with the third goal which we conceded. Consequently we gave ourselves another tough task but to the lads’ credit they kept going until the end and we’ve scored right at the death from a corner with Gary (Ormston) flicking the ball on and Paul Van-Zandvliet has managed to stab it in and we end 3-3.”
He went on: “A couple of big things for me – and I’ve probably said this numerous times – is if we had taken our chances and been a bit more clinical in front of goal earlier in the game – and nobody misses on purpose – it could have led to us having a more comfortable afternoon with a more positive result. We’ve got to look at once we got back into the game allowing them to get in front again on two occasions and also the fact that we have conceded 11 goals in three games. I take some of the responsibility for that in terms of how I set us up to play. We are playing in a very attacking formation and in a very attacking shape and going through our 1-11 today there were probably only two recognised defenders in the team and that’s my choice. But what we have also got to remember is that we’ve got Nathan Buddle who has been out now for six weeks plus; Si Jakab who is not available who has been one of our best defenders of late plus Jordan Summerly and Charlie Exley who are both unavailable. That’s four defenders we are currently having to reckon without so that plays a part in things as well.”