WHITLEY Bay manager Ian Chandler was delighted on two fronts after his side had clinched a 3-1 derby victory over Ashington at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday.
A Paul Chow double and a rare goal for Brian Smith earned the Seahorses a comfortable victory, although the Colliers pressed in the second half and scored a late consolation through Gareth Bainbridge.
Speaking after the game, the Bay boss said: “To come here and claim all three points – I couldn’t have asked for more. I’m very happy.
“The second pleasing aspect is that we’ve started, gradually, thinking that we’re becoming a team again.
“Earlier in the season we were not, it was everyone for themselves, but we’ve come back and I’m delighted with that.”
The boss was thrilled with the way the first half panned out as Bay held a one-goal advantage.
“The first half was reasonably comfortable and as much as we could have hoped for,” added Chandler.
“Ashington gave us a bit time on the ball so we passed it about and kept it nicely, and apart from one shot, I cannot remember them threatening.
The visitors had prepared to keep a tight rein on what they believed to be Ashington’s main strike threat – Jonny Godsmark. But he was forced off in the first half.
“We turned out with the two big lads (Brian Smith and David Coulson) at the back alongside Callum Anderson, who has a bit of pace, and the intention was for Callum to try and look after the threat of Jonny Godsmark.
“However, I know losing Godsmark through injury was a blow for them but it was a bonus for us because he is a dangerous player.”
Despite early second half goals from Smith and Chow, Chandler was still wary of the home side – even at 3-0.
“I felt the momentum had turned our way,” he said.
“The two goals gave us a big cushion, but after taking a three-nil lead we sat off them a little bit and Ashington came back really strong and started doing what they are good at – putting the ball into the box.
“They put us under a bit of pressure, which in truth I had expected them to do from the start of the period.
“We conceded one goal and didn’t really have any more chances ourselves and just saw the game out.”
Injuries to LeePaul Scroggins, Craig McFarlane, Gary Ormston and Gareth Williams had taken its toll on Chandler’s, squad but he was full of praise for his troops.
“With four personnel out, I was both delighted and pleased,” he said.
“Brian Smith was excellent and took his goal well. He was the only change from Tuesday night’s line up when we beat Billingham Town 5-2 and we put him in for his height with Chris Reid unlucky to miss out.”
Meanwhile Chandler paid tribute to strikers Robbie Dale and Chow.
Dale unselfishly put the ball on a plate for Chow, which consequently saw the forward hammer home his 151st goal for the club.
“Robbie drew the keeper and I thought he might try to score himself, but he laid off a great pass for Paul to net – and that is what our team is all about.”