06 Nov 2018 in Post Match Interview
By Brian Bennett
Ashington FC manager Steve Bowey could not hide his disappointment on Saturday night after watching his side go out of the Buildbase FA Vase following a 4-1 defeat against last seasons finalists Stockton Town on Teeside. The reverse was also the third cup competition the Colliers have exited in a period of ten days and leaves them with only league games to play for the remainder of the campaign.
However Bowey insisted there is still an opportunity for his squad to end in the top ten of the Ebac Northern League’s first division. “Naturally I’m bitterly disappointed with the result on Saturday and people from the outside will be looking and believing it’s been an easy game for Stockton - but we more than matched them. We controlled the first half and had some good snippets of play. We were 3-0 down yet we’ve had three great chances to pull a goal back and also had a penalty appeal turned down.”
He continued: “At half time I told the lads to go out onto the park; put their chests out; get their heads up and give it everything and we started the second period really well with good pressing. We got a superb goal back at a great time and then had two glorious opportunities and I think missing those knocked the stuffing out of us. If one had gone in, you are then looking at a different scenario because it would have given everyone a lift and put Stockton onto the back foot and when Nathan Mulligan scored the fourth goal, the tie was over.”
He went on: “It’s a tough one to take because we’ve had 12 chances at goal and it wasn’t a case of us having backs to the wall. We played some good football and were effective and played the artificial pitch quite well - but it wasn’t our day today.” Bowey looked back from the first whistle: “At the start they had two opportunities and scored two goals in the blink of an eye,” he said, “Although the first goal was a great strike, we should have closed the ball down. You cannot give players opportunities to get their head up and we didn’t close the man in possession quick enough. You don’t want the score line to go to six or seven and credit to our lads because they didn’t allow their heads to drop and showed a little bit of character. It’s a cup competition and you get one opportunity and it wasn’t to be. We have got some disappointed players, staff and supporters. The fans were fantastic by the way. It was a great following and we appreciate them travelling a fair distance to support their home town club and I’m really disappointed for them. At 3-1 down, I would have loved us to get another goal to make it more interesting for them (the fans) and given them something to cheer about. We didn’t do enough though to give them that opportunity to roar us on.”
Now out of all cup competitions, Bowey is determined that the season will not peter out: “The lads will be back in for training on Thursday and we’ll analyse things,” he said, “We’ll be looking to get the feel-good factor back. We’ve still got 20 odd league games to play and I don’t want the season to fall away. On Saturday, we face Newton Aycliffe at Woodhorn Lane and want to put a show on and show some appreciation for our supporters because they deserve it more than anybody. I’m downbeat but we have got a good squad and we can hopefully have a good run in the league. Our aim was to finish in the top ten and that remains the case.”