By Brian Bennett | Photo: Ian Brodie

Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner said he was ‘slightly disappointed with just a point’ – after his side had fought back to secure a 1-1 draw against Stocksbridge Park Steels at Woodhorn Lane on Tuesday night.

Jack Watson put the visitors ahead in an uneventful first period before Darren Lough equalised just short of the midway point in the second period.

Skinner said afterwards: “I’m probably slightly disappointed with just a point because of some of the chances that we created plus the amount of possession we had in and around their box second half but we haven’t been able to score that elusive winner.”

The boss reflected on the first 45 minutes: “I thought we played too slow and didn’t move the ball quick enough,” he said, “To their credit Stocksbridge obviously recognised the way we were playing and they flooded the centre of the pitch and it was really congested in that area. We were trying to get messages on for players to make runs from inside to out and to stretch the pitch a little bit but in truth there wasn’t really much between the two teams in the first half. Obviously they took the lead with a bit of a bizarre goal. Our ‘keeper Ross Coombe has made a decent save but he’s pushed it (the ball) back out and Andrew Cartwright and their number 11 (Jack Watson) have gone to tackle each other for the loose ball. It seems to have just squirmed up and the ball has hardly crossed the line – it just trickled into the goal and it’ll be interesting to watch it back. Consequently we found ourselves 1-0 down and it gives them (Stocksbridge) something to really dig in for and hold onto.”

Skinner was happier with his side after the break: “Similar to Saturday at Grimsby, I thought we started the second half really brightly,” he said, “We looked to play forward quickly, we fashioned one or two chances and I thought we went on to dominate pretty much the majority of the half. We had a couple of big chances – their goalkeeper (Harry Garman) has pushed a shot out and Connor Thomson was clean through after a great move. However, just like Saturday, we are missing gilt edged chances at the minute and that would have brought us level. We then scored a really, really good goal to be fair and the move leading up to it going from right to left was good. Darren Lough put it away at the back post and after that we were in the ascendancy without really stretching their goalkeeper too much.”

He continued: “Ashington like to make things interesting and in the last couple of minutes they (Stocksbridge) had a flurry of corners and we couldn’t seem to clear our lines a little bit. Then right at the death when I think there were five minutes added, in the third minute, two players, Karl Ross and their player (Alex O’Connor) just seemed to have a hold of each other and ended up rolling down. However, a fantastic ball up the line has released Wilson Kneeshaw who is clean through just inside their half with not a Stocksbridge player near him – and the referee pulls it back. He sends their man off and books Karl (Ross) which doesn’t help us because we were clean through on goal – but listen it is what it is. Stocksbridge have dug in and they’ll go back home tonight having come up here on a Tuesday and been pleased with a point after the work they put in to get one.”