13 Jul 2021 in First Team
SKINNER: “I’M LOOKING FOR THREE POSITIVE RESULTS AGAINST BENFIELD”
By Brian Bennett
It’s thought to be a first – and completely out of Ashington’s control – but the fact that the Colliers will face the same opposition three times in as many months in different competitions at the start of the new season, throws up something of a unique hat trick.
Last week, the FA conducted the first batch of draws for the early rounds of the Emirates FA Cup and Buildbase FA Vase and Ashington have drawn Newcastle Benfield in both.
The Colliers will host the Lions in the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup on Saturday August 7 with the winners at home to Dunston in the preliminary round.
In the first qualifying round of the FA Vase, Ashington will travel to Sam Smiths Park on Saturday September 11 with the victors away to Silsden or Albion Sports.
The third part of the hat-trick sees the two sides face each other in their Ebac Northern League first division clash at Ashington’s dwmedia Stadium on Saturday October 2.
Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner said of the FA Cup draw: “It could have been kinder to us – but on the other hand it could have been tougher. The clash will come very early in the season – our third game – and probably gives us one opportunity to do our homework and to have a look at Benfield. We will prepare the best we can to get a positive result and look to go progress to the next round.”
As for the Vase contest, Skinner added: “I’d love to know what the probability was of drawing the same club (Newcastle Benfield) even though it’s regionalised. By the time we play in the Vase, it’ll be over a month into the campaign so hopefully things will have settled down and be in a rhythm and it should make for a good game.”
He went on: “It’s a unique hat trick and I cannot ever remember it happening before. I reckon the outcome of the first game will influence the others and I’d like to hope it’s us coming out on the right side of three positive results.”
Meanwhile Ashington will host Charnock Richard in a friendly on Saturday (July 17). Woodhorn Lane football secretary Gav Perry said: “We were due to play Charnock Richard in the FA Vase last season when due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we felt it was in the best interests of all at the club to withdraw from the competition.”
He continued: “They (Charnock Richard) contacted us early in the summer to enquire about a pre season match and we are delighted to be welcoming them to The dwmedia Stadium on Saturday.” Kick off is 3pm.
Ashington ran out 4-1 winners against Edinburgh United on Saturday in a game which was arranged at short notice after original opponents Percy Main Amateurs were forced to withdraw.
Dean Briggs hit a first half hat-trick with Max Cowburn also on the score sheet: “It was another good competitive friendly in blistering hot conditions,” said boss Skinner, “It was a worthwhile exercise and I was able to utilise 18 players for different periods of time so as to balance everybody’s minutes pre season.”