By Brian Bennett | Photo: Ian Brodie

Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner insisted that although he was ‘quite emotional’ at the final whistle after his side had completed a seasons double over North Ferriby on Saturday, that the key aspect was for the players to end their league campaign on a high and send the Woodhorn Lane fans home with a bounce in their step.

After taking charge of his final league game as boss of the Colliers in the Pitching In Northern Premier’s East Division, Skinner said: “I’m quite humble so it wasn’t about me today – albeit the little token at the end and the guard of honour and people staying behind to clap was quite emotional to be honest. Instead it was about a group of players who over the past few weeks haven’t performed to the levels of which they are capable of and for them to go out onto the park and finish the league campaign with a victory. The main message to the playing staff was ‘we haven’t given our fans too much to shout about at home in the last few weeks other than a good first half against Bridlington and we want them (the fans) to leave today the ground today with a win knowing that that will carry their enthusiasm and excitement over into next season. We wanted them to leave with smiles on their faces – and I thought we did that.”

He continued: “We were able to name a strong side today – I even had to leave three players out which was unheard of in the last six to eight weeks – but credit to the trio because they still did the warm up and were still part of it and were in the dressing room afterwards. To be honest that’s exactly what we wanted from them because those three lads who missed out today probably come back into the reckoning on Thursday (v Newcastle United U21s) because other players aren’t available. The three of them were disappointed today but they knew they still had another bite of the apple really.”
Skinner was delighted his outfit returned to form: “In terms of the game itself, I thought we got the ball down and moved it like we’ve done earlier in the season,” he added, “It was against a North Ferriby side who I’ve got a lot of time for – I like the way they play and they are a good side. Apart from that, I’m always comfortable and confident when we play against good sides because we tend to bring out our ‘A’ game – and I’m even more confident when I know a team are going to come and try and play football against us which I knew North Ferriby would. I thought that although they had little spells where they had the ball at the back and were trying to move it and get it out wide, we set nice traps to win it (the ball) back. We did that on numerous occasions in and around their mid third really and I thought we deservedly went 1-0 up in the game. However, we probably should have added a second goal earlier than we did particularly at the beginning of the second half when we started really, really brightly. We got into some good areas but our final pass just let us down at times or we didn’t take quite as much care as we should have done in and around the box. As the game wears on at 1-0, its always a sticky score line – but we got that second (goal) through Dan Maguire after a great piece of play by Wilson (Kneeshaw) to get to the by line and cut the ball back and it was a great finish.”

Skinner was pleased but thought more goals ‘could and should’ have been added: “We relaxed even more and we probably could and should have added to the two already,” he said, “However I was just delighted that the lads went out and played with a little bit of freedom and played to the levels which they are capable of and which we haven’t shown in recent games.”