10 Sep 2018 in Post Match Interview
By Brian Bennett
Ashington FC manager Steve Bowey admitted there is still room for massive improvement from his squad – after celebrating the Colliers second victory of the season over Whickham on Saturday.
After twice taking the lead through David Edwards and Channon North, the Glebe side hit back to level before debutant Jack Butler scored the winner in the fifth minute of time added on.
A delighted Bowey said afterwards: “It’s been a difficult last few weeks and like I said before the game, the most important aspect was the three points. Thankfully we got them through a last minute winner which was fantastic for us – even though I feel for Whickham because I thought a draw was probably a fair result. Both teams had good chances but you have got to keep going until the end and we got our rewards. It’s a great result and the atmosphere in the changing rooms at the end was brilliant. I’m ecstatic even though the performance wasn’t exactly what I had been looking for and it is not a smoke screen – we know there is room for massive improvement. At Penrith a couple of weeks ago, we conceded a stoppage time equaliser and today we have scored a late winner – but that’s why we all love football because anything can happen. It was end to end today and they (Whickham) have had a penalty appeal and had a few shots off the post. We were counter attacking and it must have been a great watch for the spectators with lots of action in both boxes. I thought the set play at the end – the corner by Kyle Downey which led to Jack Butler’s winner – was great and I was over the moon for Jack. He’s just turned 18 and is looking to strive in the game. That will surely send his confidence through the roof and I’m hoping we are going to see some great football from the lad.”
He continued: “I thought first half we controlled the game going up the hill. To be fair our ‘keeper Conor Grant has had to make a great save but other than that everything was in front of us and we were comfortable. I thought we scored a terrific opener through David Edwards but we came out second half and just didn’t get into any sort of rhythm. A lot of credit is down to Whickham who got in our faces, pressed high and didn’t let us play out. They got the equaliser but we hit back straight away and that typifies what we are all about. I would like to see the replay of our second (goal) because we played through the thirds, broke the lines and Channon (North) scored a great goal. We could have nicked a third which would have killed the game – and it’s the old cliché in football about killing teams off - and we didn’t do that. Whickham were on top when they got their second equaliser but we stuck in and defended well despite them giving us a tough time. The lads are rightly delighted in the changing rooms - but it’s only three points and is finished now.”
He went on: “We have got to move on and now focus on a massive game against Crook Town in the Buildbase FA Vase on Saturday (September 15). I haven’t hid from the fact that we are looking for a good cup run. We need some success for Ashington and to get a hold of the feel-good factor and get the supporters back. The type of football I want us to play will hopefully do that. We are the entertainers but nothing is easy with us and clean sheets are hard to come by and if you score three goals at home, you expect to win but it hasn’t always been that way. We are going to have a good weeks training and concentrate our efforts on things we can improve on as well as highlighting the positive things as well. There is more to come and we will have Zak Atkinson, Chris Youldon, Gerard Richardson and Matty Wade back in contention. They are four big players who have been missing and it’s unfortunate that they have been ruled out - but football is over a season.”
Meanwhile Adam Rundle’s debut only lasted 20 minutes before he hobbled off on crutches: “Adam was going to hospital to get some stitches in his foot but at this moment in time, we don’t know the full extent of his injury,” added Bowey, “He has played over 300 league games and has got bags of experience and that’s why I signed him. It’s just unfortunate the way things have panned out today and he’ll probably be out for a couple of weeks. He’s a seasoned pro so it shouldn’t be too long before he’s back.”