By Brian Bennett | Photo: Ian Brodie

Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner believes that things are ‘not quite happening’ for his side at Woodhorn Lane as he reflected on the 0-0 draw against Winterton Rangers on Tuesday night.

It was the first game in six seasons on home turf where supporters had failed to see a goal and Skinner said afterwards: “Listen there was some harsh words said on Saturday after the defeat to Grantham and as a bare minimum today we wanted players to show some commitment and a desire to work hard. I thought they did that if I’m honest but in doing so, we probably lost a little bit of our quality. In our last three home games – other than the first half against Bridlington when I thought we were very good – its maybes not quite happening for us and I think people are now maybes taking the easy option of playing.”

He continued: “I thought we played awfully long tonight up to Wilson (Kneeshaw) and Connor (Thomson) and hoped for something to happen whereas previously we’ve probably worked the ball through the thirds a little bit more and moved it (the ball) quick and looked purposeful in possession. Tonight we got graft but not much guile. I thought we worked hard both in and out of possession but lacked a bit of quality and composure and calmness in possession. We turned the ball over a little bit too much particularly in the second half when it became a bit of a game of basketball. Winterton had two runners running off the front who were quick and caused us one or two problems and in the end they did get into some good positions but fluffed their lines on a couple of occasions.”

He added: “We haven’t really threatened the goal as much as I would have liked but the positives to take are that we kept a clean sheet and haven’t lost the game. We haven’t kept a clean sheet for a long, long time – in fact over the last eight or nine games, we’ve conceded a minimum of two goals. We picked up a point tonight albeit we’d have preferred to have taken all three and touch wood it looks like we haven’t picked up any more injuries bearing in mind supporters would have come along tonight and wondered where X, Y and Z are.”

The boss explained his dilemma when he said: “We lost Ben Sampson who came off injured on Saturday; we tried to protect Charlie Exley but we needed him to help us out for ten minutes on Saturday then he had a reaction and was not available; Ben Williams rolled his ankle in training this week so he wasn’t available tonight; Dan Maguire’s calf isn’t as bad as was first thought but he has seen a physiotherapist today and this week is going to be too soon for him whilst Si Jakab was unavailable as he was playing for England Universities so we were four or five down from the squad we had on Saturday.”

Skinner poured praise on players who came back to help the club on Tuesday: “Credit to some of the lads like young Dylan Archer who was with us earlier in the season who we let go to get more game time. He came back to help us out and the same goes for Mason Hardy who we let go out on loan to get minutes. He returned tonight albeit he didn’t get out on the pitch. Adam Glew is another who came to us in the summer but struggled with injuries and he has answered the call so pats on the back to all of them. We’ve also had to recall Matty Dopson from Newcastle Blue Star and now we’ve got to go to play Hebburn on Thursday and Liversedge on Saturday before we get a week off.”