01 Oct 2019 in Post Match Interview
ANTONY HAILS PERFORMANCE OF GOALKEEPER McHUGH
By Brian Bennett
Ashington FC’s assistant manager Paul Antony hailed the performance of goalkeeper Adam McHugh following the Colliers 3-2 victory over Sunderland Ryhope CW on Saturday.
On the hour, the stopper distinguished himself with a brilliant save low to his right to deny David Vincent before he made an unbelievable stop from substitute James Ellis in time added on at the end of the contest. Antony said: “Adam (McHugh) has kept us in the game after making some terrific saves and he was my man of the match. When our ‘keeper is the top performer, it probably suggests to me that they (Ryhope CW) will be wondering how they have left Woodhorn Lane with nothing – but on the other hand, we didn’t take anything from Guisborough the previous week when we deserved a point.”
After conceding an early goal by Jon Weirs, Callum Johnston and Jamie Hanson put the Colliers ahead – until Danni Lay made it 2-2 on the stroke of the interval and Antony said: “At half time we were disappointed. The goals we conceded were poor especially the second one plus the timing of it – in the closing minutes of the period – which is something we have done a few times this season. We sat the lads down and just asked them to pass and secure the ball better because we must have counted ten times in the opening half where we have flicked the ball around the corner or hooked it on when the players have got to believe in themselves that they can bring it down, secure it and play. We talked about our pace going forward. Callum (Johnston) did get some joy down the outside of their centre halves as they had more of a three at the back because the full back was pushing on and we told Callum that he would get success especially going up the hill with the wind against us and the ball holding up. We needed to keep the ball and get a few passes in first to encourage the opposition to come at us which would leave the space in behind for us to exploit.”
He continued: “Conditions were difficult and I thought the score line at half time was probably fair at 2-2 if I’m honest. I didn’t think we had done enough and our only two bits of quality were the goals. The first was a great header from Callum following good work from Ben (Gaffney) who claimed the assist and who was great on his debut whilst Jamie Hanson is one of the best finishers at the club and did well to score. Ryhope CW were quicker to the ball and picking up more second balls and they had good runners from midfield going forward.”
He went on: “Ian Herron came on as a substitute and I know he has been frustrated recently because he hasn’t played but I thought he was solid and brought a bit of stability into the midfield. It was a good finish by Damien (Stevens) for what turned out to be the winning goal and when he gets into those positions, Damo likes to put his foot through the ball. Once we scored although we looked comfortable they (Ryhope) still had some good chances which is where Adam (McHugh) came to our rescue. I also thought David Luke had a great game getting on the ball, nicking it (the ball) in midfield and his energy levels were brilliant.”
Antony is looking for consistency: “We are not going to be a team who wins three games then goes on a losing streak – that’s not going to happen any more,” he said, “We are going to pick up points – yes we might have one or two where we may lose a game here or there but not going to lose four or five on the bounce and are determined to make sure that that doesn’t happen. I’m delighted today because we lost to Guisborough and West Allotment Celtic but have bounced back.”
Meanwhile skipper Curtis Coppen – recently sidelined through injury – was a shock but welcome inclusion and Antony explained: “Curtis was probably 70 per cent fit but nevertheless looked great. I say it week in week out that in my opinion, he (Curtis) is the best centre half in the league, we are delighted to have him and of course he is our captain. I had written a few teams out – and didn’t think Curtis would be involved thinking it was too early for him but this morning our physio Jay Robertson put a strapping on him and gave him a fitness test and declared him fit so it was a nice boost.” For Saturday’s trip (October 5) to face Northallerton, Callum Johnston (groin) and Thomas Kalthoeber (hip) will undergo fitness tests and there is a doubt over Marc Lancaster but Dom Price should return to the squad which travels down to North Yorkshire.