Homework was key to Ashington's FA Cup success

Ashington manager Ian Skinner at the final whistle. Picture by Ian Brodie.Ashington manager Ian Skinner at the final whistle. Picture by Ian Brodie.
Ashington manager Ian Skinner at the final whistle. Picture by Ian Brodie.
Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner certainly did his homework on opponents Bradford Park Avenue in preparation for Saturday’s second qualifying round tie in the Emirates FA Cup which the Colliers won 2-1 at Woodhorn Lane.

And after the final whistle, Skinner’s immediate thoughts were one of delight – for so may people connected with the club.

Skinner speaking within minutes of the win against the National League North side said: “I’m obviously delighted – for the players, for the club, for the fans and for all the hard work which goes into preparing for these types of games.

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"Personally I’m not looking for any plaudits but the chairman (Brian Shotton) and myself drove down to Bradford on Monday evening to watch them in action against Darlington. I also managed to get a copy of every game in which they had played this season. I must have sat watching hours and hours of footage of them (Bradford) to work out how we could look at playing against them.

"Then you read comments about how it will be a great day for their strikers to boost their confidence because they haven’t scored many goals and I just thought ‘I’ll stick that piece of news on our dressing room wall!’

He continued: “One thing was uppermost in my mind - a way of how we wanted to try and play because we set up purely and simply to win the game - nothing else. I said to the lads ‘I think we can win it and I expect us to win to be honest.’ They (the players) were fantastic in training on Thursday. They showed some real quality in the final third around how we were going to play - so full credit to them because they have taken the information which they were provided with on board.”

Ashington led 2-0 with an own goal and another from Ben Harmison.

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“At 2-0, you think ‘let’s see if we can manage the game out’ but to Bradford’s credit they’ve pulled one back.

"It wouldn’t be Ashington if we didn’t make things a little bit exciting! They had another goal disallowed for offside but then after that we managed to see the game out relatively comfortably.”

In the next round Ashington will face an away tie at Stocksbridge Park, based in Sheffield, on Saturday, Oct 1.