27 Dec 2017 in General News
By Brian Bennett
Ashington FC manager Steve Bowey acknowledged that Morpeth Town’s 4-0 half time lead in the Wansbeck derby on Boxing Day had put the game beyond his side who went into the contest protecting a four match unbeaten run.
Bowey said afterwards: “When you concede four goals in the first half, the game is over as far as I’m concerned. I was disappointed in the way we gave away the goals but credit to Morpeth who came out of the blocks sharp and got us turned. For us to concede from two set plays was also very disappointing and looking at a 4-0 score line, it was an uphill task to get back into the game.
Naturally, I’m disappointed that the run has come to an end but I’ve just said to the lads in the dressing room that they have just lost against arguably the best team in the league so am I disappointed – no not really in a sense but yes if truth be told.”
After Jordan Fry had opened the scoring, Joe Walton struck midway through the half with the second – and after that Bowey was hoping his side wouldn’t concede again. However Fry completed his hat-trick with two headers inside as many minutes: “I said to the lads on the park that if we could get to half time 2-0 down then we would have a chance and be in with a shout because we always play well down the hill and also because the sun was a bit of a nuisance,” added Bowey, “But the two quick fire goals from set plays completely took the game away from us and really killed us and we have got to do better to defend free-kicks because we got punished.”
The boss said he had asked the players to win back a bit of credibility in the second period: “Words were said at half time but primarily I asked the lads not to lose the second half and to show the fans something else because we showed nothing first half.
I also asked them to pull a bit of credibility back. In defeat, you try to look for the positives and there were plenty in the second half. We kept at it and kept going and we could have scored another couple which would have made the score a bit more decent on the eye.”
Bowey made his full home debut after Kyle Downey missed out through injury: “Kyle [Downey] has been excellent and it was a big blow when he was ruled out,” said Bowey, “Skipper Craig Scott is a massive player for us and is also sidelined and in general we had some key players missing. We are just too light on the squad front – you look at the Morpeth bench today and the players they brought on but I’m not grumbling.
Did we deserved to lose the game? Of course we did but we have got a big match at Ryhope on Saturday - another tough encounter because they are a big physical side.” He added: “I thought Lee Scott did well when he came on so that was another plus for us.
Dylan Williamson who has just returned after being out with a long term injury had his first game at Penrith and was struggling today. We are still confident, have been on a great run and we will pick ourselves up and go again. We need to get this game out of our systems and focus on the future.”
Morpeth Town’s joint boss Nicky Gray also thought the points were secured after the first 45 minutes: “Some of the lads don’t like playing on Boxing Day and it’s just a case of trying to get the job done as early as possible - and we did that,” he said, “We got a couple of free kicks and the set pieces were decent today and although the second half wasn’t pretty, the game was already won at half time. We have got a strong squad and freshened things up - and the lads who came in were fantastic and it made a difference.”
The Highwaymen continue to lead the table but Gray is cautious: “We are in a good position at the top but it’s the old cliché of us taking one game at a time and letting the other teams try to catch us,” he said, “I would have taken a 1-0 win today so I’m delighted with a 4-1 result – it’s one game less to play and three more points in the bag.”