By Brian Bennett

Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner was seething and pulled no punches when delivering his postmatch thoughts following the Colliers’ 2-1 home defeat against Grimsby Borough at a windswept Woodhorn Lane ground on Saturday.

Striker Dan Maguire had fired the hosts ahead but as the performance from the Wansbeck outfit deteriorated, goals from Lewis Collins and Adam Drury secured all three points for ‘The Wilderness Boys.’

Skinner stormed: “I think it’s even gone beyond frustration now because I think I would struggle to give any one of our players more than five out of ten for today’s performance. It was on non league day where 700 people have turned up and we have served up ‘that’. I’m actually angry – and it’s not often that I use that word – with that performance because people hear about this team (Ashington) that showed unbelievable fighting spirit away at Pontefract to get a draw when really we possibly should have won. We’ve then gone to Consett and played really well and won then onto Belper where we played unbelievably well and should have won the game but a little bit of individual brilliance got Belper a point. People hear all these things and have come here today and they see ‘that’ performance and they probably think ‘are they spinning us a yarn?’ because that was anything but what we’ve had in the last three games. Listen – I don’t make any bones about it – the players know (about the performance) because we’ve told them. I’m a pretty honest straight talking person and I didn’t lose my temper today – because I take no pleasure in shouting and screaming at grown people but I’ve told them honestly what I thought about their performance today – that it was unacceptable.”

He continued: “It was always going to be difficult conditions with the pitch starting to dry out and being a little bit bobbly. Scott Robson our groundsman has done unbelievable work on it given what condition it has been in over the last few weeks. You say to people (the players) its going to be a difficult day so whatever we do, we make sure we don’t lose the game. Yes we want to go and win it and this is the way we are going to play to try and win it but whatever happens we don’t lose the game. We were kicking against the wind in the first half and I thought some of our play out was really good. The lads showed composure to get on the ball and try and play out from the back. We played out down our left hand side particularly well albeit we actually had a great move down the right hand side which saw us take the lead where we got Wilson Kneeshaw in behind and he’s cut it back to Dan Maguire who has finished the move off.”

Skinner then mentioned a turning point: “A massive moment in the game happens not long after that when we get Wilson (Kneeshaw) clean through again one on one with the goalkeeper and he blasts it high and wide. That is a huge chance because if we go 2-0 up I think we would have gone on and won comfortably. If we are 2-0 up against the wind and we are being able to play out, I’m not sure where Grimsby come back from. Then the frustration and the anger comes in – in the two goals we have conceded. Another message before the game was ‘let’s defend our goal really well; let’s put bodies on the line and let’s do whatever it takes to keep the ball out of our net. If Grimsby are going to score today, they are going to have to be really good and if it’s clever play or it’s a great strike then so be it. The first goal was a catalogue of errors where the ball has trickled in the net and from dominating the game it’s 1-1 and obviously Grimsby’s tails are up and I thought they finished the half the stronger.”

He added: “Second half we come out but we are just nowhere near where we need to be in terms of our play. We talked about being patient amongst others things – but none of that happened. For the second goal we conceded, I was actually writing something down and as I looked up, I saw the ball being played in behind for their striker against Gary Ormston. Obviously he’s gone through and finished it and the two goals we’ve conceded are not acceptable. It’s not like me to speak like this but people need to hear the truth. It’s becoming too often. Fair play to Grimsby – I thought they were the better side in the second half. We just looked abject and devoid of anything that we’ve done really well in the last three games. We changed our goalkeeper today but I gave the other ten lads who did really well at Belper the opportunity to do it again – and they haven’t done it.”