12 Aug 2019 in Post Match Interview
SKINNER: “WE WERE NOT AT OUR BEST TODAY”
By Brian Bennett
Ian Skinner saw his Ashington side break their duck under his management after sealing back to back wins inside four days – then the boss said his outfit did not fire on all cylinders despite a 2-0 victory over Albion Sports in the Emirates FA Cup.
The Wansbeck side will now host Marske United on Saturday week (August 24) in the preliminary round and Skinner gave a typically honest assessment after the final whistle: “This is the first time since I returned to the club first as interim boss in mid January then as manager, that the team have won back to back games - and it’s a nice feeling,” he said, “However whilst I was delighted, I didn’t think we were at our best today – not passing the ball quick enough or as well as we can. That said, conditions were difficult and cup football is all about the result. I demand high standards and put a lot of onus on the players to perform at their optimum level on a consistent basis and I’m not sure they did that today. The biggest thing was to win the game on our patch against a team from Bradford and we’ve done that. I thought we started quite brightly and moved the ball well but just not quick enough. Again we’ve had a couple of one-on-ones and their ‘keeper (Matthew Smith) has saved them so that’s an aspect which we might need to work on a little bit more in training.”
He continued: “We got the opener from Curtis (Coppen) right on half time but it didn’t change my team talk because although we were 1-0 up and the goal was a positive, we still needed to do things slightly better after the break. Albion Sports made a couple of changes at the interval and have thrown bodies forward which you would expect them to do coming down the slope. Second half they had the rain on their backs whilst we had it driving into our faces and they have looked to get the ball forward as quickly as possible. I thought we defended well with Gav Caines and Curtis Coppen excellent and the duo look as if they can develop into a real strong partnership.”
He went on: “We’ve huffed and puffed a little bit and managed to get a second goal through Karl Ross and it was good to score two goals from corners. From there on we did okay but as it seems to be the Ashington tradition, even though we were two-nil up we had a nervy last five minutes. Our goalkeeper Dan Staples hasn’t had to go full length to save anything today and that’s a compliment to our defence. I know I am stating the obvious as it’s impossible to lose a game of football if you keep a clean sheet – but that was another pleasing aspect about our performance today.”