Ian Skinner - 02/11/2019

05 Nov 2019 in Post Match Interview

Ian Skinner - 02/11/2019 Ian Skinner - 02/11/2019

SKINNER: “SECOND HALF SHOWING WAS NOWHERE NEAR GOOD ENOUGH”

By Brian Bennett

After being encouraged by the performance from his side in the first half at Penrith on Saturday, Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner was critical of their second half showing labelling it as being ‘nowhere near good enough.’

The Colliers lost their third consecutive game in the league - by a 3-0 score line in Cumbria and the boss added that there are a ‘few big decisions to be made’ ahead of Saturday’s home clash against Shildon. Skinner said afterwards: “First half I thought we did okay. We started the game brightly and probably had enough chances to be ahead in the game - but then when you break it down, our ‘keeper Adam (McHugh) has made at least three really, really good saves. We conceded a poor goal - and I’m starting to sound like a broken record – but Adam (McHugh) has made a couple of great saves in the build up then we haven’t stopped the cross and right on half time, the lad (Grant Davidson) has had a free header ten yards out to put them in front. During the interval, we tried to reinforce and remind the players of one or two things and thought if we continued to create chances then we would have an opportunity to get back into the game. However, we needed to take those chances but our performance second half was nowhere near good enough. We were out-battled; out-scrapped and out-worked - and that is not acceptable. The second 45 minutes was a little bit like the Northumberland Senior Cup tie at Bedlington. Penrith are what they are – they are big and physical, one to eleven. They play what I call percentage football, they get the ball forward early which is playing to their strengths and you can’t knock them for that. Physically it was difficult for us to match them in that way because we had a lot of physically smaller players out on the pitch and that’s just the way we are but you would expect us to be better with the ball; move the ball and to try and not get involved in a physical encounter. Also to try and move the ball quickly around them (Penrith) - but we haven’t offered anything if I’m honest until the last couple of minutes where we have had a flurry. However again - and this is what typifies the defeat a little bit - even at 3-0 with five minutes to go, we’ve had three or four shots in the box and I saw Penrith defenders putting their bodies on the line, throwing themselves in front of it (the ball). At 3-0 it would have been easy for them to just say 3-1 - but no - they were desperate to keep a clean sheet.”

Skinner thought his side ‘definitely’ had a chance to claw themselves back into the game when the home side were reduced to ten men with Gary Thompson seeing red: “I thought we could definitely get back into it,” he said, “I made three changes to be really positive and take some chances. They (Penrith) were obviously going to go 4-4-1 so we took a couple of defenders off and put a couple more forwards on but even then we just allowed the game to run away from us. Penrith just played balls into channels and the front man to his credit worked really hard - and then they took him off and brought a fresh front man on who chased the ball repeatedly. We had to go and get it (the ball) but we allowed the game to drift for ten to fifteen minutes. For the last ten minutes we came to life a little bit and started to pass the ball better. Marcus Giles has hit the bar; we’ve had what I thought was a penalty for handball on the line after a scramble not given; we’ve had a goal ruled out which I thought was not offside because I think Penrith have flicked the header on - and they are the fine margins.”

He continued: “Second half, my players didn’t deserve to win a game of football and only they can put it right. I can sit here and go through a list of 13 players who weren’t available today through suspension, injury, at work or on holiday but that would be disrespectful to the players who played today. They showed in the first half that they were good enough to get a positive result against a very workmanlike Penrith side but second half they didn’t show the same and Penrith deserved their win because they were better than us. I’m very disappointed.”

For Saturday’s home tussle against Shildon (3pm), skipper Curtis Coppen, David Luke, Ethan Biwer, Dan Taggart, Harry Newton and Logan Fawcett are all available for selection: “It’s a feast or a famine,” added Skinner, “I’ve gone from having only 15 players to pick from at Penrith today to potentially having 25 players to choose from on Saturday and if I’m honest, I’m pleased about that because there are some big decisions to be made. We’ll train twice this week and will make what we consider to be the best call.”

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