11 Mar 2019 in Post Match Interview
By Brian Bennett
Ashington FC’s interim manager Ian Skinner believes his side are heading in the right direction despite them slipping to a 2-1 defeat against Ryhope CW at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday – their sixth reverse in seven matches.
Sammy Perez scored to cancel out an opener from Jon Weirs before Jack Devlin fired Ryhope’s winner just past the midway point in the second half. Skinner said: “One little thing I must comment on - and the management team have discussed this – is that we look more of a team now. The players look as if they have got an understanding of how we want them to play. We still had a few square pegs in round holes today which was forced on us a little bit but we are starting to get a little bit of a pattern and understanding. Hopefully that will continue week on week – but I’d just like to win some games of football.”
The Colliers went down 2-0 against Ryhope only a month ago and Skinner added: “We were aware of the quality they had in wide areas – that was evident when we played them at their place only a few weeks ago and the reports I’ve had on them since mirrored that. They were causing us all sorts of problems out on their right (our left), with Robbie Bird and the young full back Lewis King who was on loan at Ashington earlier in the season. They were getting out and playing two versus one against Lewis Robson a little bit which was dragging Aidan Hutchinson out. It’s the story of our season that we had to stop and change our shape a little bit to get our full backs a bit more protection. From that moving forward, the team seemed to grow in confidence in terms of pressing a bit higher and playing with the wind on their backs in the first half. After conceding a poor goal, we then had a spell for about 20-25 minutes where we have pressed them in their half and we’ve looked a threat and have managed to get a deserved equaliser. We were on top and it was good that we made that period of possession and being on the front foot count and we finished the half okay. However, I did think that once we scored we went back into default mode a little bit and stopped doing the things we had done well. We got in at half time and talked about how we were going to combat the conditions in the second half and made a change bringing Jack Butler on to have what we class as ‘ball carriers’ in the final third. That is players who can get on the ball and run with it to get us higher up the pitch. It also took away the easy option in the second half of just trying to play the ball long into a bit target man (Channon North) so it forced us to play.”
He continued: “We’ve had another spell probably the last 10-15 minutes where Ben Sampson who was excellent at getting out at right back has got on the ball and driven us forward whilst we’ve tried to move Jack Butler from a central position into a more wide area to get him out of the traffic so he could hopefully run at their defence and get isolated one on one against somebody. The Ryhope ‘keeper (Joe Atkinson) has also made a great save from Chris Youldon, diving low down with the ball taking a deflection but it wasn’t to be our day and that was disappointing.”