Manager Danny Johnson was delighted his team came away with a point from his side's trip to Staffordshire on Saturday but expressed his disappointment at his sides failure to convert 3 or 4 great chances in the first half and the sending off of Kevin Sanasay.
The manager explains ‘I am disappointed In Kevin, especially after Wednesday night when we gifted Whitby 3 points due to us having to play the majority of the game with 10 men. He is a really nice lad but you can’t raise your hands even if it is only a push and he knows how disappointed everyone at the club is after what he did. I don’t blame the ref for sending him but he should also have sent their lad off if he was showing any consistency. There was nothing in it so even a stern talking to would have been a decent way of settling the issue. Yet again we had to fight on with 10 men and we showed great character in keeping Hednesford out. The sending offs are now becoming a bit of a joke and it is very frustrating for me as a manager because I continually ask my players to keep their discipline, stay on their feet and defend the right way. I certainly don’t set our stall out to be an aggressive side, that’s not what we are about. It has got to a point now where I will have to make an example of someone, I simply can’t tolerate stupid sending’s off any longer.’
‘The real positive is that we had three or four great opportunities to score in the first half after we opened them up with some really nice football, the disappointing bit was that we were poor in front of goal. We have sorted ourselves out at the back, George (Melling) and Robbo (Craig Robinson) along with Frosty (Alex Frost) and Dave Roberts have given us a platform for the forward lads to build on. The goals will come, I am sure of that. We have some excellent attacking players in Chris Amadi, Kevin Sanasay, Sam Madeley, Marlin Piana and Matty Kosylo, we are also now becoming a more settled outfit and we will get stronger. The more DC (Danny Caldecott), Matty O’Neill and Ged Murphy play the better and we are still suffering with a few injuries: Mark Peers (hamstring), Warren Beattie (ankle) and Aaron Burns (ankle) will all add some great competition for places when they are back fit.’
I am very hopeful we will have a much better second half to the season and the last 7 or 8 performances have proved we can compete with anyone in this league. We have played Chorley, Chester, Bradford PA and Hednesford over the last few weeks and none of them have beaten us that convincingly and we drew at both Chorley and Hednesford. These are the best teams in this division so we can take plenty of heart. Yes, we didn’t kill off Whitby on Wednesday and believe me I was hurting more than anyone but playing with 10 men, as we found again yesterday is very difficult and if we had, had that little bit of luck we would have held on in the last 5 minutes. We can’t look back though and we need to look forward, we’ve got an excellent group of players who have a great ethic and all want to play for Ashton United Football Club. They’re not here for the money, in fact I would say at least 90% could earn more money playing somewhere else, for me that’s priceless and what non-league football should be about. As I said in the week, two or three wins moves us up the table and into a top half position. With the support of everyone this is very achievable and is the target Craig, the two Dave’s, the players and I have. I always say enjoy the good times as the bad times are just around the corner. I think we are just coming out of a terrible time both on & off the pitch and I firmly believe we are going to enjoy the new year.’