Ashton United recovered from their disappointing League Cup exit on Wednesday night and produced a solid performance against a Nantwich Town team that will be travelling to League One side MK Dons in the 1st round of the FA cup on Saturday. This wasn’t the team’s best performance of the season but it was certainly a step in the right direct following recent results.
Manager Danny Johnson was pleased with how his team conducted themselves but stressed that performances need to continue to improve over the next few weeks. ‘That was much better’ declared the manager. ‘We were difficult to beat on Saturday and apart from one save in the first half I can’t recall Terry Smith having to make a save in open play. Nantwich were dangerous from set pieces and they will cause most team’s a problem because they have three or four big lads who have a real desire to get on the end of crosses into the box. It was great to have George Melling back at the heart of our defence and it is no coincidence that the improvement defensively coincided with the return of Ged Murphy in midfield. Ged has been out for 8 weeks and during that time we have struggled to get a grip in midfield. Ged’s enthusiasm for the game rubs off on others and he certainly makes a big difference and has an impact on how we play.’
‘It wasn’t a pretty performance but we created enough opportunities to take all three points and to concede from a set piece early in the second half was bitterly disappointing. However, we showed great spirit and came out looking to get the winner, which is something we always do. Mark Peers looks like he will be an excellent signing for us and gives us good options on either side of midfield. He also has plenty of experience and once he finds his feet with us, he will weigh in with his fair share of goals. On the down side Peter Wright looks like he has pulled his hamstring which will leave him on the sidelines until January at the earliest. ‘Wrighty’ has been a regular scorer already this season and I have always felt that the partnership between Aaron Burns and Wrighty would develop as the season unfolds. Fingers crossed it isn’t as bad as first thought and he will be back sooner rather than later. However, I feel we have enough options in the forward department with the likes of Jon Bathurst, Sam Madeley, Matty Kosylo and Chris Amadi, the latter being available on Saturday for the trip to Chasetown.’
‘Finally, I would also like to congratulate Ian Bennett on making 200 appearances for the club. Benno has been a great servant to the club and a one of the nicest lads you will meet. When I took over at the club Benno was a bit part player and was never really given the opportunity to establish himself. He just needed a chance which he was given and responded to. What is slightly disappointing is that over the last 4/5 years Benno has never been approached to move up the leagues. He has unbelievable ability and in my opinion someone higher up the pyramid should have taken a chance on him. He never misses training and he is someone who as a manager you can trust and will never let you down. Benno started this season on fire but his form has dipped of late but as they say form is temporary and class is permanent. On the flip side I am sure Benno will appreciate all that Ashton United have done for him over the last five years and we all hope he will be around for a long time to come.’