07 Jan 2019 in General News
By Brian Bennett
Ashington FC manager Steve Bowey admitted an in-form North Shields side deserved their 1-0 victory over the Colliers at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday and at the same time, lamented that his own outfit suffered because they only played in fits and starts.
For the Robins, it was their fifth win on the bounce which has spring boarded them to fourth from top of the Ebac Northern League first division. However, at the opposite end of the table, with Guisborough and Whitley Bay both picking up maximum points from their respective matches against Guisborough and Dunston UTS, Bowey’s men have slipped to fourth from bottom. In the next three weeks, the Wansbeck side face trips to Guisborough and Whickham with a home game against basement team Penrith sandwiched in-between – three clubs who are in the bottom five: “It was fits and starts from us today if I’m honest,” said a disappointed Bowey afterwards, “I think the Christmas period has taken it out of the lads but we have got a very young squad with 17 and 18 year olds on the pitch which is a credit to them. North Shields are on a great run and they deserved to get the result today but for all that, we could have nicked a point at the end. Young Jake Cunningham has played a great ball in for Jack Butler who took a great first touch but put it wide. It deserved a goal – and even though we maybes didn’t deserve a point, football is all about taking chances. We rode our luck at times against a side who are flying high but we kept going and had we got that equaliser it would have felt like a great result for us - but it wasn’t to be. I thought we defended well. Wayne Buchanan has got his first 90 minutes under his belt in five months and Jake Turnbull – out for six or seven weeks, also returned. I’ve got a good bunch of youngsters who are hopefully the next generation of Ashington footballers and that is what it is all about. We keep developing and improving and losing 1-0 today was no disgrace because North Shields have been scoring three and four goals every game.” He continued: “We have got to take the positives out of the clash and there were plenty. I’m disappointed we didn’t get a point even though North Shields would have felt hard done by. We know we need to be better for long periods. When we got to the final third we just lacked that little bit of quality – but it will come. We have got a run of games coming up which are going to be tough and against teams in and around ourselves. We will be going into those clashes with confidence and will firstly focus on Guisborough away on Saturday. Gez Richardson is starting training again this week and he has been a big miss whilst Shaun Vipond – a player with a lot of experience - was missing today but will hopefully return for Saturday. Although the squad is healthy with 19-20 players, I’m also hoping to bring one or two new lads in plus we have got the under 17’s who have been a breath of fresh air. It’s a credit to them that we had two of their squad on the bench again today. We will have a good training session on Thursday and dust ourselves down in preparation for a tough game at Guisborough. We were excellent against Sunderland RCA; unfortunate against Stockton and again today and it is not as if we are getting a good pasting or hammering – we are always in with a shout.” He went on: “The lads are disappointed today and I asked them the question ‘could they have done better’ – and every single one said they could have improved - and that’s a good positive. As a manager that’s what I want to hear – players who want to improve, listen and learn. From my perspective I thought the goal North Shields scored was a poor one to concede and at the end of the day, we want our players to be better on the field. The only way is to learn by mistakes – and we have got 13 games left of the season to put it right.” For Saturday’s trip to Teeside, apart from the aforementioned Richardson and Vipond, Bowey will give fitness tests to Jay Hornsby and Liam Armstrong but Kyle Downey remains sidelined.