Manager Danny Johnson expressed his delight following the 2-2 draw away at Chorley on Saturday. The gaffer wasn’t just happy with the result he was also very satisfied with his team’s performance and character. The team has been a shadow of themselves over recent weeks but they certainly put that behind them yesterday with some excellent football and two great goals.
The gaffer explains ‘I don’t for one minute think that the result yesterday has put the recent run of defeats behind us but it does feel like a weight has been taken off our shoulders. After the first 20 minutes the lads settled down and expressed themselves exactly as I expect them to do. Some of the passing and movement was a real joy to watch and the two goals were excellent. It was a tremendous performance considering the players we have out injured/suspended and then we lost Liam Dawson in the warm up which really throws your preparations up in the air. The character this team shows is excellent. We have defended dreadfully so far this season and conceded some really poor goals, that continued yesterday but there were some real signs of improvement. We are constantly giving ourselves mountains to climb and 9 times out of 10 we climb them. If we can stop doing that we will win far more than we lose.’
‘The back four hasn’t been settled since the first 3 or 4 games of the season and even yesterday Josh Rose, who was magnificent, came in at left back at the eleventh hour. Nick Swirad made his debut at right back and I opted to play Dave Roberts alongside George Melling and I thought that was Dave’s best game in Ashton United colours. Dave is a really nice lad and was part of the Burscough team that won this league a few years back so he knows what it takes to win trophies. Dave was probably wondering what he had let himself in for, having played in virtually every position in the past three heavy defeats. However, he has great character and has just gone about his business and proved his worth to us yesterday.’
‘Matty O’Neill is really struggling with a persistent groin problem and he is seeing a specialist on Monday. Matty has been playing through the pain barrier and I was going to bring him off yesterday until Nick Swirad told us of a calf problem. Even then Matty dropped back into right back and was pivotal in providing a platform for us to get the equaliser. I suspect Matty will need an operation and will be missing for a few months. Players like him will be missed but he will bounce back and show us exactly what we have missed. With the continued absence of Wayne Cahill with a knee injury and now Matty this will give the likes of Matty Kosylo and Sam Madeley a chance of a continued run in the side. Both of these lads have done brilliantly for us and have chipped in with important goals (Sam got the winner at Frickley and Matty Buxton & Chorley). We haven’t got a problem scoring goals in fact we are up with the best in this league at scoring goals, its conceding them that is the problem and that is why I have jumped at the chance to bring back Craig Robinson (pictured).’
‘Robbo will join us as Player Assistant Manager which is a real boost for the club although I doubt he will be available for selection for a couple of weeks. I have remained a close friend of Robbo and I supported his move to Droylsden over the summer at the detriment to Ashton United Football Club. I told Robbo he needed to give it a go as every player should want to better themselves and play at the highest level they possibly can. However, he has been hampered with an ankle injury and hasn’t featured very often. I speak to him on a daily basis and a couple of weeks ago he told me he had left Droylsden. I never in a million years thought he would return to Ashton United as a player as I knew there were lots of Conference North clubs interested in signing him so I never asked him to come back until I had a meeting with Robbie Talbot. Robbie, as well as being my Assistant Manager is my business partner and work is taking over our lives, hence Robbie’s absence from games of late. I then decided to speak to Robbo about the possibility of becoming my Assistant Manager with Robbie taking up a coaching role. Robbo accepted and joined us in the dugout yesterday.’
‘The lads have full respect for Robbo and he made an immediate impact yesterday. He will be working closely with the defenders at the club which is something we desperately need. He is a great lad and someone I know will work as hard as he can and give the job everything he has. I am sure everyone involved with the club will join me in welcoming Robbo back to the club and wish him all the very best in his new role.’
‘We now move on to the game against my former club Trafford on Wednesday in The Manchester Premier Cup. I have very fond memories of my time at Trafford and they are the first club I look out for at 5.45pm on a Saturday. The people there are unbelievable and I enjoy returning to watch them at every possible opportunity. The club is run on a very similar basis to Ashton United and the people behind the scenes work extremely hard indeed. Gary Vaughan (Trafford Manager) has assembled and excellent group of players who compete very well as Gary did as a player. They also look to play the game the way it should be played and I am expecting an excellent game of football. I will be making a number of changes to my starting eleven but we will be looking to win the game and reach the final as we did last season. That was a great occasion and something I want to do on a regular basis so we won’t be taking this game lightly and I doubt Trafford will either.’