Paul Antony - 29/02/2020

02 Mar 2020 in Post Match Interview

Paul Antony - 29/02/2020 Paul Antony - 29/02/2020

Photo: Ian Brodie

ANTONY: “THE LADS GAVE EVERYTHING - I COULDN’T HAVE ASKED FOR ANY MORE”

By Brian Bennett

Ashington FC’s assistant manager Paul Antony was delighted with the 2-0 victory over Northallerton Town at a windswept Woodhorn Lane ground on Saturday and thought the players – aware of the importance of the game - had got their just rewards after giving everything to the cause.

Lee Scott and Callum Johnston got the goals during a purple patch in the first half but Antony acknowledged the role played by ‘keeper Adam McHugh especially in the second period: “We are getting very good at playing the conditions because every Saturday - whether it be at home or away – we seem to have to contend with gale force winds,” said Antony afterwards, “We talked about the previous game at Newcastle Benfield (0-0) and about being brave on the ball both with and without the wind. We discussed pressing high and playing in the Northallerton half, picking up second balls and maintaining attacks which is something we didn’t do at the start of the season. We are getting good at winning the ball high up the pitch and keeping teams pinned in - and down the hill especially with the wind, you can do that on our ground. It was a great delivery from Callum Johnston which led to the first goal with Lee Scott being brave and getting his head to the rebound then roles reversed, he (Scott) went down for the penalty which Callum (Johnston) took and netted. We had shouts for another penalty straight after and if we had got it and scored, 3-0 is a lot more comfortable a score line because it’s always a little bit twitchy at 2-0.”

He continued: “Second half I thought we played the better football - but I’m not denying that Northallerton did create some chances. Adam (McHugh) has again made some very important saves to keep us ahead at 2-0 because if it had gone 2-1 it changes the way the game goes. We had three of four good chances ourselves within the first 15-20 minutes to get that third goal but their ‘keeper (Thomas Dawson) has made a few good saves and we haven’t taken a couple of half chances with balls across the box. However, in terms of the football played, I know from experience that it’s hard against the wind. We haven’t got big lads to hold the ball up but Lee (Scott) did well in that respect for us. We have got footballers with lots of energy and lots of intensity and we keep doing the right things. We tried to get on the ball to play to get up the pitch and I thought the lads did really well apart from where we overcomplicated things a little bit. I’ve just said to them (the players) in the dressing rooms that if we keep getting onto the ball and moving it quickly, a lot of teams in the Northern League will struggle to match our kind of dynamic quick play.”

He went on: “We said before the game that it was an important match because if we were to win, it would widen the gap between us and Northallerton and in that respect, the lads applied themselves, gave everything and I couldn’t have asked for any more. To get another clean sheet was great and as soon as we get the points we think we need then we can kick on and the lads can play with a little bit more relaxation.”

Antony was just glad to see a game go ahead following back to back postponements against Guisborough Town and Sunderland Ryhope CW: “The fact that we hadn’t played for three weeks is always a little thought in the mind that we might be a little bit ring rusty,” he added, “We have trained a lot but that does not replicate a game. As a management team we were very insistent upon having that intensity and those high energy levels because that is the minimum that we ask of them (the players). We looked fitter and more dynamic and moved the ball quicker - and if you do that over 90 minutes you will win the game. David Luke is a consistent performer for us whilst Marc Lancaster has come into the side today and is a very influential person both in the changing room and on the pitch because of his experience and personality. Playing centre half is not his natural position but I thought Marc (Lancaster) was great again and Tom Bramley has had about four or five really good games for us on the bounce. However, I thought every single player performed really well today and they got a seven or eight out of ten mark from myself today.”

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