Ashington manager Ian Skinner says team's performance in home defeat is 'unacceptable'

Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner asked his players to address their indifferent home form before Saturday’s clash with Grimsby Borough – but the mystery continues after the visitors came from behind to take all three points.
Dejected Ashington players walk off after their 2-1 defeat at home to Grimsby Borough. Picture: Ian BrodieDejected Ashington players walk off after their 2-1 defeat at home to Grimsby Borough. Picture: Ian Brodie
Dejected Ashington players walk off after their 2-1 defeat at home to Grimsby Borough. Picture: Ian Brodie

It had looked so good for the Colliers when Dan Maguire nudged them ahead, but a performance which Skinner labelled afterwards as being ‘unacceptable’ was about to unfold.

Ten minutes before half time, The Wilderness Boys drew level through Lewis Collins and just past the midway point in the second period, Adam Drury slotted home what proved to be their winner.

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On Non-League Day, the game attracted a bumper crowd in excess of 700 but it was never going to be a classic with a strong wind blowing down the ground.

Ashington – kicking against the elements in the first period – went ahead on the quarter hour. Ben Sampson played the ball down the right to Wilson Kneeshaw and, after cutting inside, he pulled it back for Maguire, whose shot crept inside the far corner from nine yards.

Grimsby’s response was a free-kick from 20 yards by Reece York which was held by home keeper Ross Coombe then, within seconds, play switched and Kneeshaw wriggled into the box but when he found Cam Gascoigne, the midfielder fired over.

Then on 22 minutes, Kneeshaw missed a glorious opportunity to double his side’s lead, with Sampson again the provider.

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The striker, who was through on goal with only keeper Liam Higton to beat, lashed the ball over from seven yards.

Ashington had a lucky escape on the half hour following a throw-in when a Grimsby player poked the ball wide, but in the 35th minute the visitors equalised.

Ashington cast an eye towards the referee looking for a free kick which never materialised and after the visitors had advanced, Collins poked home from close range.

The Colliers were creating their own problems and had certainly not fired on all cylinders in the first half. But after the break their performance plummeted drastically and was abysmal.

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They did carve out the first opening in the 68th minute when Kneeshaw found Sampson who crossed and Charlie Exley hit a half volley into the ground which was taken by Higton.

A minute later the home side were on the end of a classic sucker punch when they were caught out on the break. Drury charged through the middle, shrugging off a challenge from Gary Ormston before slotting wide of Coombe.

In the first minute of time added on, following a long clearance by Coombe, Kneeshaw passed to substitute Connor Thomson who cut inside but saw his effort blocked by Higton.

An angry Skinner said after the game: “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 – that it was unacceptable.”

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Speaking about the second-half performance, he said: “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 10 lads who did really well at Belper [a 2-2 draw] the opportunity to do it again – and they haven’t done it.”

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