By Brian Bennett
Ashington FC manager Steve Bowey saw his side go in at half time against Dunston UTS on Tuesday night trailing by 2 goals to one before they came on top with a 5-3 victory.
Until recent years, the UTS ground has not held many happy memories for Colliers fans. Indeed, this was only their third win out of 15 visits – and the Colliers had never scored more than two goals in a match.
However Bowey - a former servant with the Blues – was adamant when asked whether he could see a second half transformation from his side: “Could I see that victory coming – yes without a doubt,” he retorted afterwards whilst wearing a beaming smile, “We didn’t perform at all in the first half.
We didn’t compete or pick up any second balls but at half time I made two changes bringing on Damien Stevens and Ben Christensen and moving Shaun Henderson into midfield. Damo give us that little bit of a spark which we lacked and as they [Dunston] played a 3-5-2 formation, there was loads of space to exploit so it was an ideal scenario for Damo to play on the shoulder and get them turned.
I knew we’d create chances and we just had to be a bit more positive. We came out of the blocks at the start of the second period and were excellent and continued in the same vein for the whole half - but what we did a lot better was to play the pitch – we played to the conditions.
It was a difficult surface to play on and there wasn’t a great deal of football but really it was a case of us not making mistakes like we had in the first half.” He continued: “We looked to the front man and looked to get beyond, turn their back three and were positive and there were some excellent performances out there including one from Luke Salmon who scored two goals whilst playing in an unfamiliar midfield role.
But we also had belief. We said at half time that Dunston were there for the taking and if we played to the conditions and our strengths then we would get something out of the game.
Some of the goals were fantastic and to be fair if we hadn’t come away with a result, I would have been bitterly disappointed because we created some good chances.
Luke [Salmon] went just wide with one effort; Damo [Stevens] had another couple of half chances but overall it was an excellent team performance - and the substitutes made a difference.” He concluded: “At the end of the day we have got a squad here.
We are all in this together it’s not just about 11 players who can win a game – it’s about everyone who is involved. We have got players coming in providing strength in depth and there is competition for places but we need to push on. Dunston have been flying of late and it’s always a hard place visit so a 5-3 victory is a magnificent feat.
Since I took over at Ashington, we have defended well but lost by the odd goal and what we have lacked is a goal threat which changed tonight. I was pleased for the lads - it was a brilliant three points tonight – and now we look forward to our clash at home to Newton Aycliffe on Saturday.”