11 Sep 2020 in Post Match Interview
SKINNER: “WE NEED TO BE A LITTLE BIT MORE COMPETITIVE”
By Brian Bennett
Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner says he wants his outfit to be ‘a little bit more competitive’ – following Wednesday night’s 3-0 away defeat against Stockton Town. Skinner said afterwards: “I thought we did okay at times and not so well at other times. In the first half they (Stockton) had a spell where they were camped in our half and we couldn’t really get out. We weathered that storm and then we had a ten minutes spell ourselves where we managed to get Dean Briggs on the ball in and around the edge of their penalty area and he had three efforts at goal. However, I think we need to be a little bit more competitive. We like to do all the nice things, get the ball down and pass it and try and move it quite well but I think we need to learn to put our foot in a little bit more. For the Stockton opening goal we had three men around the ball on the edge of the box and nobody has put a foot in - and we’ve allowed the lad to roll it into the forward (Jamie Owens) who has finished well across our ‘keeper Adam McHugh.”
He continued: “We came in 1-0 down and I wasn’t too disappointed. We had a way which we wanted the lads to play in the second half and we came out and caused them (Stockton) some problems. We were probably on top for spells in the second half; Ben Harmison has hit the post and we got loads of joy playing the ball into Ben and getting around him. But similar to Saturday (against Newcastle Benfield), we’ve conceded two goals in quick succession in the closing stages and we’ve got to manage the last ten minutes better. We are either not where we need to be in terms of fitness levels or we give in - and that is the question I have asked the players. That’s two games now where in the last five minutes we have conceded two really poor goals and made daft decisions.”
He went on: “Overall there was some really pleasing football. I keep saying we are a ‘work in progress’ – we have played two league games and lost both but we should have at least three points on the board. We have been working hard but we just need to find a little bit more competitive edge to go with our passing game – and it will come.”
Skinner gave a debut to Dan Cranston who has come in on a dual registration with Gateshead. He said: “Dan plays in a similar position to Jack Butler who we have lost through injury and he will give some competition in the wide areas. He’s energetic, looks to get on the ball, tries to be positive and go forward and he’s quite pacy. It was really difficult to judge him tonight and I think he was taken aback because he was straight into the side. We’ll keep working hard though and moving forward – and we now prepare for a big game in the Emirates FA Cup away to West Auckland on Saturday.”
With a plethora of injuries, Skinner will give several players fitness tests ahead of the 3pm kick-off.