Atkinson praises attitude of Whitley Bay players in defeat to Ashington

Whitley Bay manager Paddy Atkinson.
Whitley Bay manager Paddy Atkinson.

Whitley Bay manager Paddy Atkinson praised the attitude of his players and said that the spirit within the camp is tremendous.

This was after his side came close to sharing the spoils against Ashington on Tuesday night in difficult conditions.

Atkinson’s outfit were 4-0 down at half-time but rallied after the break to pull three goals back and set up an exciting finale.

“I know it’s an old cliché, but it was a game of two halves and the weather played a bit part in the first half,” he said.

“Ashington had about four or five shots and scored four goals and it was tough for defenders.

“If we had gone in at the interval 2-0 down instead of 4-0, we would have had a better chance.

“We had to change our shape in the second half and scored three, whilst we thought another had gone over the line and possibly had two or three chances to force a draw.

“At half-time, I didn’t rant and rave because it’s pointless.

“I myself have played in those same conditions and honestly they are the worst you can come up against because midfielders are getting by-passed, wingers are not getting the ball and it’s all about defending.”

Atkinson, however, was delighted by the comeback.

“This is the spirit we have got,” he said.

“And that’s the type of manager I am – I always try to build a good dressing room first and foremost.

“We had a good run in the FA Cup and got through in a replay against Matlock on penalties after ending the game with nine men.

“We showed that same attitude on Tuesday at Ashington where we have come back in the second period and almost forced a draw.

“Now we go to face Bishop Auckland on Saturday in great heart.

“Not having played for four and a half weeks has been the sticking point and it was noticeable because it probably took us a game and a half to get back up to speed.

“We didn’t disgrace ourselves in a 2-0 defeat at Shildon on Saturday – only that we were a yard off the pace.”