SKINNER: “I DON’T WANT DANNY TO DWELL ON PENALTY MISS”

Photo: Rachel McDonald

By Brian Bennett

Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner says he fully expects Danny Anderson to put Tuesday night’s penalty miss firmly behind him – and move on.

After the game had finished 2-2 after 90 minutes, the midfielder stepped up to take his sides fourth spot kick in the shoot out against Newcastle United under 23’s – and saw it pushed away by young Magpies ‘keeper Will Brown.

Nathan Carlyon then converted for Newcastle which booked them a place in the semi finals of the Techflow Marine Northumberland Senior Cup: “Penalties become a lottery,” said Skinner afterwards, “I got the players on the pitch before we took them and said to them: ‘listen whatever happens from here, we can have no regrets.’ During the game itself, I had feared we were going to have regrets of what might have been – but in that spell in the second half, when we came from 2-0 down against a professional outfit to get back to 2-2 we’ve shown people what we are capable of and we need to take that forward now into the next few games.” He continued: “I asked who wanted to take one (a penalty) and the lads were brave enough to put there hands up with my only advice being to make sure they hit the target. Unfortunately somebody is going to miss one – and tonight it was young Danny Anderson. The penalty was on target but the ‘keeper has saved it and that happens. However, the pleasing thing is Danny is quite a laid back character and it’s probably not something which will faze him too much. Being a young lad, he’ll probably shrug it off a little bit – and I’m comfortable with that because I don’t want him to dwell on it.”

SKINNER: “WE GOT A BIT OF MOMENTUM – AND COULD HAVE NICKED IT”

By Brian Bennett

Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner was naturally disappointed after his outfit had lost on penalties against Newcastle United under 23’s in their Techflow Marine Northumberland Senior Cup quarter final tie in front of a record breaking attendance at Woodhorn Lane on Tuesday night.

A bumper crowd of 1,357 saw the young Magpies go into a 2-0 lead with goals from Jay Turner-Cooke and Cameron Ferguson before Ashington levelled in the second half through Karl Ross and Craig Spooner. The tie then went to a penalty shoot out which Newcastle won 5-3.

Skinner admitted that after his sides first half performance, he was pleased that the players had rallied after the break: “We had Newcastle watched – and I also watched them myself – and we thought we could cause them some problems and that we’d be in the game for sure. However, we approached it like any other – where we wanted to be on the front foot and wanted to win – but it didn’t quite happen for us first half. I don’t know whether we gave them (Newcastle) a little bit too much respect and didn’t get close enough to them or whether we are not used to playing against opponents that move the ball as quickly and as well as they did. There were a few things I was disappointed with in the first half including us conceding a poor goal. To be fair those first 45 minutes were littered with mistakes both in and out of possession. I felt myself getting frustrated and I could sense the players were getting a little bit frustrated with themselves and each other because we all know we are better than that.”

He continued: “Our ‘keeper Karl (Dryden) has made a great save to keep it a 1-0 and at half time we just tried to change one or two things. We talked about trying to get on the front foot coming down the slope that this pitch has – and again the game was passing us by a little bit and I was starting to really fear with my biggest disappointment for the players going to be that they hadn’t showed everybody who had come to watch how good they are – especially those people who had come for the first time. Obviously we have got a fantastic hardcore of 300 – 400 fans who have been coming this season and they know what we are capable of and I didn’t want them to go away disappointed thinking ‘we can play better than that’ whilst the ones who were here for the first time I wanted them to see that we are building a good side here.”

He went on: “Consequently, after making substitutions to freshen things up a little bit I was pleased we managed to get a little bit of momentum in the game. We started to pass the ball and once we made three or four passes, there was a little bit of belief came back in and we created some chances and have scored with a great header following a great cross. We equalised and after that we had a couple of little chances and I thought ‘we might just nick this.’ But to be fair to Newcastle, they finished the game strong and the momentum and the effort we put into having to get back into it at 2-2 we started to see some heavy legs. Karl (Dryden) has made a good save to keep us in it and they (Newcastle) have had a couple of shots from long range. To be fair, I’m pleased there was no extra time because I’m not sure it would have been much of an event if we had had to match them for another 30 minutes.” He concluded: “Obviously a lot of planning goes into a game like this. The advanced ticket sales were fantastic and the crowd of 1357 – a record for this ground – were also fantastic on the night.”

COLLIERS MESSAGE TO FANS

By Brian Bennett

Ashington FC chairman Brian Shotton has urged supporters to arrive in plenty of time ahead of the 7.30pm kick off when the Colliers take on Newcastle United 23’s in the quarter final of the Techflow Marine Northumberland Senior Cup at The dwmedia Stadium on Tuesday (December 14).

Advanced ticket sales are going well with over 500 purchases to date which will also speed up entry through the turnstiles. But as the Woodhorn Lane club expect to attract their best home gate of the season against the young Magpies, Mr Shotton has asked for fans to come along early so as to avoid congestion at the gate: “When the draw was made, it’s a game which immediately gripped the attention of the people of Wansbeck and obviously we are delighted about that,” he said, “We would like to see supporters purchase their tickets online as using this system not only saves them £1 but also makes it easier for their admission at the turnstiles. However, alternatively they can pay on the night – and if they choose that option we would ask them to arrive in good time.”

Tickets for the match can be bought online at:

https://ashingtonafc.ktckts.com/event/asn2122hnsc2/ashington-afc-vs-newcastle-united-under-23s

For those wishing to pay on the night, contactless payments at the turnstile are preferred, however, if paying cash, it would be appreciated if spectators could try to bring the correct change. Pricing on the evening will be:

Adult: £7  |  Senior Citizen: £3  |  Student: £3  |  Under 16s: £2

SKINNER: “WE’LL NEED TO BE AT OUR BEST”

By Brian Bennett

Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner has said that his outfit will need to be at the top of their game if they are hoping to find success when they tackle a Newcastle United under 23’s side at The dwmedia Stadium next week.

The Colliers meet the Magpies in the Techflow Marine Northumberland Senior Cup on Tuesday (December 14) with a semi final place at stake.

Skinner said: “We’ll be adopting the same approach as we do with every other game we play. We’ve trained this week and start to prepare for the Newcastle clash and we’ll have a little look at how they play and see if there’s anything we can use to our advantage. It’ll be a tough game but one which we’ll be trying to win and make progress in the competition.”

The boss believes the home crowd can play a huge part in a clash which has a 7.30pm kick-off: “It’s a game which the players and myself are looking forward too because it’s always good to pit your wits against full time professionals and I’m sure we’ll get a decent attendance through the turnstiles,” he added, “However our supporters can also play a key role by being our 12th man with the noise and encouragement they generate from the stand and on the terraces.”

He continued: “It’s a nice occasion for the club but all I’ll be interest in is trying to advance into the next round – and I’ll make sure we are ready to do that. I’ll be looking at it as being 11 v 11 but we’ll need to be at our best and if we are, we’ll give them (Newcastle) a good game and hopefully we’ll come out on the right end of a good result.”

Skinner has to reckon without Jordan Lashley who is unavailable for the tie whilst Adam Johnson is cup tied: “We haven’t got a game on Saturday (December 11) so we’ll probably train or have an in-house sort of practice match,” added the boss.

West Allotment based whistler David Pill will be in charge with Charlie Ford and Dora Jakab as his assistants.

*Meanwhile Thomas Kalthoeber is back in the fold at Woodhorn Lane following a spell with Percy Main Amateurs. Kalthoeber came on as a substitute towards the end of the 6-1 victory over Whitley Bay on Saturday and Ashington manager Ian Skinner said: “Thomas has returned to the club full time having been at Percy Main to get game time and regain fitness. He has trained well with the squad over the last two weeks and it was good to see him back on the pitch against Whitley Bay on Saturday.”

JOHNSON: “I COULD HAVE SCORED A HAT-TRICK”

Photo: Keith Saint

By Brian Bennett

Ashington FC’s recent signing Adam Johnson scored a brace as the Colliers went on a goalscoring spree with a 6-1 win over Whitley Bay at Hillheads on Saturday.

However, the striker revealed afterwards that he could have grabbed a treble: “It’s always nice to score your first goal for a new club so I was delighted – but to be honest I could have notched a hat-trick! For my first, Craig Spooner passed the ball to me from the left – I took one touch – then drove it into the bottom corner and Craig (Spooner) was involved again for the second which I finished off with my right foot. I thought it was a really good game played out in front of a big crowd and I thoroughly enjoyed it. All of our lads were brilliant grafting from the very first minute.”

Ashington-born Johnson was delighted with the result – but stressed that consistency is a key issue for his side: “It was a tremendous bounce back performance today after our defeat at Crook Town,” he added, “but we can’t do that on a regular basis because the only way to get higher and higher up this league is through consistency. If you can’t win you try hard not to lose. Our biggest aspect is to graft and with the quality we have got going forward we will always score goals but we have got to try to concede fewer. Initially when we went 1-0 down today I thought ‘not again’ but then the quality of the lads saw us bounce back and everyone grafted; closing the space between players; watching the ball and getting there and it was just perfect from all of the boys.”

24 year old Johnson – signed from Blyth Town – has settled in quickly at Woodhorn Lane: “I love it here – it’s brilliant,” he said, “The training is really good and there is a great group of players.” However the Blyth-based striker will be forced into a watching brief on Tuesday night (December 14) when Ashington take on Newcastle United under 23’s in the quarter final of the Techflow Marine Northumberland Senior Cup – as he is cup tied having played for Blyth Town against the Colliers in the last round: “I’ll be at the match to spectate and support the lads,” said Johnson, “I’m gutted about having to miss out because it will be a massive game to play in.”

DEBUT DELIGHT FOR LASHLEY AFTER SKINNER U TURN

Photo: Keith Saint

By Brian Bennett

Jordan Lashley could be forgiven in believing his debut for Ashington against Whitley Bay on Saturday was a ‘walk in the park!’

Following his transfer from Bedlington Terriers on Friday, the Colliers newcomer scored twice and claimed an assist as the Wansbeck outfit comprehensively wrapped up a 6-1 win at Hillheads.

However, Ashington manager Ian Skinner had initially decided to ease Lashley in gently and had left him out of the squad – until a U turn on the morning of the match: “It’s a nice little story to be honest,” said the boss, “I put the squad out on Friday night and I spoke to Jordan and said I’m not going to put you straight in, I’m going to give you time to train with the squad and for you to get to know the rest of the lads and to gauge what it’s like. Then I was walking the dog in the park on Saturday morning and I had received a report on Whitley Bay from their midweek game at Newton Aycliffe. I thought about how I should approach the match and what would be the best outcome so I decided to bring Jordan in! I sent him a message telling him to bring his gear as I might have had a change of heart and he went from not being in the 16 to being in the starting 11.”

Skinner continued: “Jordan took a little while to warm into the game but he’s young; he’s quick and direct; he’s got good feet and can go past people and he’s got an eye for goal – and I’m pleased I changed my mind but I’m also delighted for him.”

Speaking after the match, 23 year old Lashley said: “On Friday night I wasn’t even in the squad but nevertheless I fully believed the lads would get the three points,” he said, “I got a text this morning to bring my gear and obviously found out before the game I was in the squad. I would have been happy to have been on the bench but when I was named in the starting line up I was very surprised. The boss (Ian Skinner) put his trust in me and I’m glad I repaid him with the two goals and we got the win.”

He continued: “Last week, I was just buzzing knowing of Ashington’s interest and that they wanted to sign me. I’m a local lad and I wanted to test myself. I was in the junior side at Ashington playing for them at the old ground at Portland Park and it’s great for me to sign for my hometown club. My whole family are delighted as well because they are big Ashington supporters so it’s a proud moment for them.” Lashley’s goals came in the 37th and 54th minutes as a rampant Colliers outfit brushed the Seahorses aside: “I was pleased with my debut but I could have scored a hat-trick,” added North Seaton based Lashley, “The first goal was the result of a link up with Liam Doyle on the right where he cut the ball back to me. The first few shots I had I went far post but on this occasion, I gave the ‘keeper the eyes and fired it in at the front post and luckily it went into the bottom corner. The second came after a break in play with a counter attack. I got the ball, ran forward and smashed it towards the far post and was glad when it hit the net. However, to notch two goals and claim an assist was unbelievable – and I couldn’t have dreamed about this last night.”

COOPER: “THE LADS CARRIED OUT THE GAME PLAN TO PERFECTION”

By Brian Bennett

Ashington FC’s Neil Cooper was clearly delighted after the Colliers had hit Whitley Bay for six on Saturday.

And after the 6-1 away victory, the first team coach revealed that the key factor behind the success was how the players executed the game plan to perfection.

Cooper said: “Following the defeat at Crook Town, the main thing we worked on at our training session in midweek was to get that out of possession narrow; get the ball pressed and stay narrow out of possession; win the ball back and put them under pressure. We had to be wary as to how Whitley Bay were going to react coming into the game off the back of a heavy defeat (8-0 against Newton Aycliffe) especially when they got the early goal today and were they going to push on. However, when Josh Gilchrist put them in front, we were so much on top and it was a case of us keeping the pressure on and to keep going – and the lads did exactly as we asked of them carrying out the game plan to perfection.”

Stakeford-born Cooper continued: “At the start of the match, their ‘keeper (Dan Lister) has made a save from Craig Spooner in the very first minute. We went a goal behind – the lads wondered if it was offside – but it was nevertheless a soft one to concede. Even then they kept to the game plan really well. In the Crook Town game which we lost 4-0, the players did well when in possession; we hit the woodwork four times and the Crook ‘keeper has made saves but out of possession we were very poor all over the pitch. So we said to the lads today ‘we need to get into Whitley’s faces; we need to press the ball and we need to keep working hard out of possession which I thought they did. They worked as a team pressing and they backed each other up all over the pitch and got the benefit of what they did. You look at the saves which Dan Lister has made for Whitley Bay and at 1-0 (to them) and even when we were 2-1 ahead, he’s kept them in the game.”

He went on: “I wasn’t too disappointed going in with a 2-1 lead at half time. Whitley Bay have scored and blazed one over the bar but our ‘keeper Karl Dryden hasn’t had a save to make. You just haven’t got to panic and to make sure you score the next goal because it’s important and you don’t want the opposition to get their heads up. You know they (Whitley Bay) are going to come out the first ten minutes in front of their home crowd and are going to press you and they are going to work and from our angle we had to be big and strong. It was unfortunate for Whitley Bay after their midweek loss but we knew they would want to come out and get at us so we knew we had to do things right. We also believed that if we scored a third, we would go on to score a few more.”

Cooper – a retired fireman – who was previously reserve team manager at Whitley Bay for a period of four years, linked up with the Colliers via neighbours Bedlington Terriers: “I’ve been at Ashington for three months now and I’m settling in,” he added, “Ian Skinner is very much a hands-on manager but I’m getting more time to coach on the pitch at training sessions and also being involved on match days. I’m thoroughly enjoying it – it’s brilliant.”

STORM ARWEN WREAKS HAVOC AT FOOTBALL GROUND

By Brian Bennett

Ashington FC’s home match against Guisborough Town was called off on Saturday morning – after Storm Arwen had wreaked havoc on areas of the Woodhorn Lane ground.

Large parts of fencing were blown down whilst the home dugout – which had been secured to a concrete base – was lifted over the pitch barrier before resting near the main clubhouse entrance.

Ashington Football secretary Gav Perry said: “The Chairman and I arrived at the ground at around 7.30am to assess the situation after being informed of some damage within the ground but at the time we were not aware of the extent of the damage. On seeing the home dugout beside the turnstiles some 30 meters from where it should be, we immediately realised that the damage was going to be more than we initially expected. On a wider inspection of the ground, several sections of fencing were damaged including a 25-meter section being completely down as well as damage to the away dugout. We immediately knew that the safety of players, volunteers and spectators was our number one priority and that the game would not be able to go ahead in the afternoon.”

He continued: “As the winds were still very strong, it was impossible to fully assess the damage and works which would be needed, so we returned on Sunday to get a full picture of this. We have put the wheels in motion for some temporary measures to ensure we can continue to play matches at the ground, whilst permanent repairs are identified and planned in. We have also had several offers of support from our magnificent fans to support us with any clear up and repairs and we are hugely grateful for this. We will be in touch with those making offers of support as soon as we identify when we can get the repairs undertaken.”

Following Saturday’s postponement, Ashington have been informed of two fixtures changes. The home game against North Shields has been brought forward from March and will now be played on Tuesday January 4, 2022 whilst the clash with Guisborough Town at The dwmedia Stadium has been rescheduled for Saturday March 19. Meanwhile Ashington have been drawn away to Bishop Auckland in the Brooks Mileson Memorial League Cup after being given a bye in the first round. With the tie to be played in the midweek preceding February 19 it means the two sides will face each other twice in five days as they are due to meet in their Ebac Northern League first division clash at The dwmedia stadium the following Saturday.

SKINNER: “IT WAS FRUSTRATING AS WELL AS DISAPPOINTING”

By Brian Bennett

Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner said the 4-0 away defeat at Crook Town on Saturday was frustrating as well as disappointing – especially as it came on the back of an inspired performance against Consett the previous week.

Ewan Forster was an early marksman for the Black & Ambers then Edward Thomas plus substitutes Kai Hewitson and Mason Hurworth added further goals in the second half.

Skinner said: “Frustrating and disappointing are the words which spring to mind – whilst after the Lord Mayor’s show is another term which is sometimes used. Everything which we did really well against Consett we didn’t do today if I’m honest. I don’t know whether the players have thought that because we’ve held the league leaders (Consett) 3-3, we just needed to come to Crook and things would happen for us – only this league isn’t like that. This league is built on working hard first and foremost and being willing to roll your sleeves up and battle and scrap – and today we were too easy to get at. In terms of all four goals which Crook have scored, they haven’t cut us open with good play nor has it been a bit of individual brilliance – it’s just been really easy for them and that’s despite us probably across the 90 minutes having more possession than them.”

He continued: “Crook have played what I would class as being a typical Northern League performance where they have looked to get the ball forward quickly; looked to get people around the ball quickly and looked to put the ball into the box quickly – everything which the Northern League has been built on for years whilst we have wanted to pass it (the ball) all the time without really creating too much. That said we have hit the woodwork twice in each half and the Crook ‘keeper (Ronan Makepeace) has made a couple of good saves in the second half.”

He went on: “It just felt as if when we got to the final third, there wasn’t really that cutting edge if I’m honest. I’m really disappointed – and hopefully the players will be too. All we can do is to put it to one side, train this week and prepare for Guisborough Townat home on Saturday (November 27).” Apart from Max Emmerson and Tom Bramley who remain sidelined, the boss should have an otherwise full squad to select from for the 3pm kick off against the Priorymen.

ASHINGTON AFC SUPPORT WANSBECK VALLEY FOOD BANK

Ashington AFC have supported the Wansbeck Valley Food Bank for a number of years now and once again are looking to help boost their supplies by running a food drive at our next home game against Guisborough Town on Saturday 27th November.

On the day, we will act as an extra collection point for the Food Bank and take in donation to forward on.

The Wansbeck Food Bank run a “reverse advent calendar” on the run up to Christmas, accepting donations to further support those families at need over the festive period in addition to the support they give throughout the whole year.

Donations of tinned or dried foodstuffs plus toiletries are essentials which everyone need, and are always gratefully received, whilst Christmas treats are also an added bonus for those who may need to use the service.

If any of our supporters feel that are in a position to make a donation, we will have a drop off area available at our game on Saturday 27th November, and we will then deliver the donations to the Wansbeck Valley Food Bank in the days after the match.

More information on the Wansbeck Valley Food Bank can be found on their website, Facebook and Twitter pages.

The Wansbeck Valley Food Bank is a Registered Charity No. 1177303