26 Dec 2018 in Post Match Interview
By Brian Bennett
Ashington manager Steve Bowey could not conceal his delight on Saturday night after his side ended a run of 11 games without a win with a comprehensive 2-0 verdict over Sunderland RCA at Woodhorn Lane.
An ecstatic Bowey said afterwards: “We have just talked about the win in the changing rooms. We’ve been on a poor run and today was our first win in 12 matches but the performance levels have nevertheless been good. We have narrowly lost against the top teams and as a manager you question yourself and wonder where the next three points is coming from. Today typifies what the lads are all about. We had our Christmas party last week and the team spirit which we have got here is phenomenal. To give a performance like we did against RCA shows great character and belief amongst the players – and credit to them because they have put a great shift in and thoroughly deserved the victory.”
Jack Butler put the Colliers ahead in first half stoppage time with a thumping header before Zak Atkinson wrapped up the result with Ashington’s second in the 85th minute: “The goals came at critical times,” added Bowey, “The first on half time was a fantastic effort. The build up play, the ball around the corner, the third man running then a great cross by Lee McAndrew - and what a header from Jack Butler – I can’t wait to see the goal again on the footage. To score when we did must have deflated them (RCA) and I said to the players at half time ‘they are going to throw the kitchen sink’ and it’s how we react. We had to defend in numbers at times but it suited us because we like to play counter attacking football. We have got pace up the top and I was more than happy with the clean sheet we got today. We caught them cold but in truth, 2-0 flattered RCA. We created some great chances and the win came against one of the top teams in the league.”
He continued: “At 1-0, RCA were piling bodies forward but we defended superbly – then the build up to our second goal was phenomenal and was executed fantastically well by Zak Atkinson. It put an end to the contest and we could then enjoy the last ten minutes of the game which we haven’t done of late. There were two great moments in the game and two great goals. I enjoyed the game today - but I enjoyed the goals even more.” With quarter of an hour left, Wayne Buchanan came on for Karl Ross to make his first appearance since the opening week of the season and Bowey said: “Bucks has got a wealth of experience and as club captain he’s the focal point of the whole team. He suffered an horrendous injury at Hebburn in only our second game of the campaign and it’s fantastic and a credit to him that he comes back for someone approaching his 37th birthday. Wayne does everything by the book and lives and breathes football – but it was picking the right time. We were 1-0 up, they were bombarding the box and to have someone of his calibre sitting on the bench, it would have been foolish of us not to put him on especially the way the game was panning out. The whole team got a lift. Wayne encouraged, talked and organised things but it was more about him getting minutes under his belt. On the other end of the scale we brought a 16 year old on in Jamie Hanson who is a product of the youth academy. We have had lots of ups and downs at the club throughout the season but putting a near 37 year old and a 16 year old onto the pitch is what we are trying to achieve because we are nurturing the young lads. I tried to get another one on as well at the end – Joseph Bell – who has come in and I’m quite gutted for him that he didn’t get a couple of minutes because it’s always nice for young players to make their first appearance.”
He went on: “It’s been a long haul. We hadn’t won in 12 before today’s result and I find that hard to believe but I’ve nevertheless enjoyed coming to training and working with the lads. I also thought the fans were fantastic - they were very vocal and generated a great atmosphere. Overall I’m happy for everyone involved with the club that we got a result because I wanted us to end our home programme for 2018 on a high - and we certainly did that with the lads outstanding.”