By Brian Bennett | Photo: Ian Brodie

Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner admitted that although his side were faced with challenging conditions, he nevertheless thought they deserved a share of the spoils against Carton Town on Saturday.

The Colliers travelled to Nottinghamshire looking to complete a seasons double after recording a 4-0 win over the Millers in November. However, a goal at the beginning and end of the second half saw them slip to a 2-0 defeat: “We weren’t at our best today in terms of the way we try and keep the ball and move the ball but I still thought a draw would have been a fair result,” said Skinner afterwards, “To be honest, I didn’t think it was a great spectacle with the game played out in difficult conditions with the wind and a difficult playing surface. However what I will say is full credit to Carlton and everybody involved at their club who gave up their time to get the pitch into a position for the match to go ahead so fair play to them for that.”

He continued: “The wind was blowing diagonally across the pitch and I think it was slightly in our favour in the first half and at times we got into some decent positions. I remember Wilson Kneeshaw being one-on-one on at least three occasions but to the credit of their number eight (Khyle Sargent) he defended really, really well – whether it be he made a last ditch tackle or whether he got a tackle in and sent the ball for a corner. On another day we would probably look at taking one or two of those chances whereas at the other end they (Carlton) fashioned a bit of a half chance from a set play and a long throw. Our goalkeeper Karl Dryden has made a comfortable save from a free kick deep into stoppage time and at half time a 0-0 scoreline probably summed the game up a little bit.”

The boss was unhappy with Carlton’s opening goal in the 53rd minute from Niall Davie: “Second half, the wind was slightly in their favour but we’ve conceded a really poor goal from a set piece in terms of not being strong enough to defend our goal. After that, again it’s not been a great spectacle to watch and then having made three substitutes, we’ve ended up going down to ten men after having to withdraw Will Constantin. However, I thought that led to us having our best spell in the game. It’s funny how things work out in football – and there’s a physiological factor to it in terms of you know you are a player short so when you have got the ball you don’t want to give it away cheaply and when you haven’t got the ball you know you have got to work that little bit harder. We saw both elements of that and we started to cause them all sorts of problems. We controlled possession; we got into some good positions and you could sense that they (Carlton) were getting nervous.”

Skinner eluded to a golden opportunity which fell to substitute Connor Thomson two minutes into stoppage time: “It was a massive turning point in the game,” he said, “We’ve worked the ball from left to right and have got Connor (Thomson) in on the right hand side of the penalty area. He has hit a great strike but the goalkeeper has managed to get a foot to it and deflect it behind for a corner. Then a few minutes after that, they’ve been awarded a penalty which is soft to say the least. They scored from it and at 2-0 its game over because we are already into added on time at that point.”

He concluded: “Overall I was disappointed to lose. On what was a difficult afternoon could we have done things better? Possibly? However the pivotal moment was the save by their goalkeeper from Connor (Thomson) because if he had scored, we probably would have gone on to take a point.”