10 Sep 2019 in Post Match Interview
ANTONY: “IT WAS A GAME OF TWO HALVES”
By Brian Bennett
Ashington FC’s assistant manager Paul Antony was delighted to see his outfit record only their second league win of the season following the 2-1 victory over local rivals North Shields at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday.
And afterwards, he coined a well worn cliché to describe the contest when he said: “It was a game of two halves.” Antony said: “I’m delighted with the win. We’ve had a few dark weeks but it was a game of two halves today. In the first 45 minutes, we were nowhere near. We allowed North Shields to dictate the play, be comfortable on the ball, we didn’t get close to them, we weren’t high enough up the pitch and our energy levels weren’t fantastic but the most disappointing aspect was our quality when we had the ball. We went in 1-0 down at half time and they (North Shields) maybes could have been better off in terms of goals scored but we could have gone in at 1-1 when Ben Sampson went through and ‘keeper Greg Purvis has made a good save.”
He continued: “I questioned the players’ desire to be footballers and to get on the ball and want to play. Its all very well working hard and getting back behind the ball or pressing and getting in people’s faces - you do that with a purpose of winning the ball back - but when we won the ball back, we weren’t using it. I thought players were hiding and all I wanted was for us to take the second half; be higher up the pitch; to press with a purpose of winning the ball back and when we do that, to ask or demand it and for the players to express themselves. You work so hard to get the ball back and that’s the bit when you go and enjoy it. We also changed a few little things. We put Danny Anderson deeper so he was our number four because that’s his natural game and he wants to get on the ball. Sometimes we try to protect him (Danny) because it’s a big responsibility being a number four defensively as well and sometimes when you are trailing 1-0, you need someone to step up and get on the ball and I thought he did that. Once one person does that and gets a couple of passes in, it seems to have a domino effect throughout the team. We dominated the second half and then Danny (Anderson) scores. We looked like a team who was on the up and as soon as we had equalised, I turned to manager Ian Skinner and said ‘It’s there for us.’ We had good chances – Damo (Damien Stevens) had a one on one which he struck well and the ‘keeper (Greg Purvis) saved but a few little things just weren’t falling for us in the box.”
He went on: “The way things had developed for us and because we were at home, we needed to be positive and go for the win and we got that chance when Jamie Hanson scored. We then had to combat a tight last five minutes where North Shields were a bit more direct and threw bodies forward including Wayne Buchanan and Gary Omston who are both good in the air but we were solid and defended well and I thought we deserved the three points. North Shields may say they thought they warranted something from the game for their first half. Yes they did play well but we allowed them to do that. Now the lads need to sustain what they gave in the second half and have that consistency for 90 minutes.”