Skinner left frustrated after Ashington lose two-goal lead

Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner was left pulling his hair out after his side threw away an early two goal lead at Billingham Town on Saturday and came within a whisker of losing the contest at Bedford Terrace, writes Brian Bennett.

By Keith Hamblin
Monday, 4th April 2022, 12:10 pm
Updated Monday, 4th April 2022, 12:13 pm
Frustration shows on the face of SAshington manager Ian Skinner. Picture by Ian Brodie.
Frustration shows on the face of SAshington manager Ian Skinner. Picture by Ian Brodie.

Skinner said afterwards: “I thought I had seen it all in football. However, I’m not sure I can believe the game which I’ve just witnessed in terms of a team (Ashington) who started really brightly, played quickly, were on the front foot and tried to go out and find a little bit of confidence to play the way we had played earlier in the season.

"We came out and did that and Jamie (Hanson) scores a brilliant first goal following a great move up the side, a great ball in and he did really well to finish it. We’ve worked a little bit with Jamie making those runs and have talked to him about that run across the front post.

"Then it was almost a carbon copy for the second goal really only this time the goalkeeper (Jack Norton) has made a fantastic save from Hanson and Luke Salmon has done what he does really well – following things in and has managed to prod the ball home.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

"At 2-0 you think ‘this could be good’ and what we needed in terms of a win going into a cup game against Guisborough on Tuesday night - then we slowed the play down, stopped playing quickly, wanted too many touches on the ball, dwelled on the ball in really bad positions and conceded a really poor goal.

" We didn’t deal with the ball over the top and the player has wriggled free. We tell people to open their shoulders in the middle so they can see the player and the cross coming in but they’ve closed their body off and watched the ball and left Terry Stephenson with a free header in the six yards box.”

He continued: “We then think ‘let’s steady this’ but how do you legislate for someone back heeling the ball in the box when you are defending and you can’t see what’s behind you?

"They pinched the ball and score - that said Luke Salmon it was with the error but then he’s probably saved us a point at the end.

"Luke has gone from following in and scoring to costing us an equalising goal by back heeling the ball in the box and then by hook or by crook with last ditch defending has managed to get the ball off the line literally in the last few seconds.

"To be fair our ‘keeper Adam (McHugh) has made a great save in stoppage time at the end of the first half for us to go in level. Then we come out second half where we still wanted to be positive and recreate that first 20 minutes but we conceded.”

He went on: “I’ve probably seen Ashington’s season in one game today – for the first 20 minutes the Ashington who have done really, really well this campaign and who have played some fantastic free flowing football and have scored some really good goals but then I saw the achilles heel Ashington who like to make things interesting and concede poor goals defensively as a team.

" We nearly got caught – but it’s a point which stops the run of four consecutive defeats.”

Ashington now sit seventh in the table with 57 points,