11 Jul 2019 in First Team
SKINNER: “WE PLAYED SOME INVENTIVE FOOTBALL”
By Brian Bennett
Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner was delighted on Wednesday evening after his side had defeated Bedlington Terriers 4-1 in a Wansbeck derby friendly in front of a crowd of 210 at Woodhorn Lane.
Two goals in quick succession from Jamie Hanson and Dan Taggart saw the Colliers hold a two goals lead at the interval then top drawer strikes by Kyle Downey and Lewis Robson followed before Brad Higgins reduced the deficit. The result saw Skinner’s outfit – after a 5-1 victory over Durham City on Saturday - win back to back warm up matches and although the boss said he doesn’t read too much into pre season game, he was nevertheless beaming after a very encouraging 45 minutes of what he described as ‘inventive football’ by his side.
Skinner emerged from the dressing rooms and said: “We’ve now had two good work outs and it’s pleasing to scored nine goals because for people who watched us last season, it was evident that we struggled a little bit in front of goal. It’s a completely different squad this year and so far we are looking okay although I don’t read too much into pre season. That’s because it’s about fitness and us starting to embed some of the principles that we as a team want to take into the new campaign. In both games we have played two elevens – eleven different players in the second half to the first - other than the ‘keeper for tonight and even then we were going to do that, only the ‘keeper picked up a knock in the warm up and we decided not to take any risks.”
He continued: “It was a worth while exercise and I thought we played some inventive football in the first half in and around the final third which is something we have been working on in pre season. We have got good pace and energy in there as well – so that’s pleasing. It’s also good when new players come in and get off the mark nice and early – Callum Johnston got a couple (of goals) against Durham with Dominic Price and Harry Newton also on the mark and Dan Taggart has notched tonight - and it’s good they have hit the back of the net early because that will breed confidence. However, it’s still early days and personally I don’t read too much into pre season. I am quite happy with where we are in terms of a squad and our fitness levels are where they should be. Obviously the games are coming thick and fast and we now need to look at getting the lads more sustained minutes on the pitch.”
He went on: “We had 25 players involved tonight and I’ll certainly be reducing that number drastically for the home contest against Bootle on Saturday. If anyone misses out, there is a fair chance they might get an opportunity against Seaton Delaval on Wednesday and we will be having smaller personnel against Blyth Spartans and Sunderland West End as the season proper grows closer to a start. Second half tonight there were not too many senior players out on the park and we gave the ball away a bit cheaply but all in all I’m happy and pleased with how things are going.”
He concluded: “There is big competition for places and I keep telling them (the players) that they need to perform at training and in matches if they want to be in contention for our opening Ebac Northern League game away to Hebburn Town on Saturday August 3.”