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History

Like many others, the club struggled in the immediate post-war era. The change of name came about in 1946 but a change in fortunes did not follow. In 1948 the club failed to win re-election to the Cheshire League and re-joined the Lancashire Combination. Ashton's first honours after World War II again came in the form of the Manchester Challenge Cup, won in 1950 and then held for three seasons from 1953 to 1955. Cup form in general was good in the 1950's as the club twice reached the first round proper of the FA Cup; losing a replay at Hurst Cross to Halifax Town in 1953 (pictured below - team prior to the game and Stuart Dimond scoring in front of a packed crowd) and again in 1956 when the Robins were defeated at Southport.

Floodlights were installed at Hurst Cross in 1953 and inaugurated with a 4–3 win over Wigan Athletic on 29 September of that year (pictured below with programme from the game); club record scorer Stuart Dimond – 201 strikes in just 251 games – appropriately notched the club's first goal under lights.

During the 1954–55 season Hurst Cross staged the first FA approved floodlit competition - called the Lancashire and Cheshire Floodlit Cup. Ashton United invited seven other clubs from a mixture of the Lancashire Combination and the Cheshire County League to compete for the trophy, with all games being played at Hurst Cross. The competition ran for two seasons, with Hyde United the winners on both occasions.

The 1960s started with Ashton as holders of the Manchester Intermediate Cup and later that year (under the managership of his father) the club saw the debut of its youngest ever player - and scorer - a 15-year old schoolboy called Alan Ball, later a World Cup winner in 1966. In 1961 Ashton were demoted from the 1st Division of the Combination despite finishing 12th - they had originally resigned their membership in the hope of re-joining the Cheshire League but were beaten in a vote by old foes Wigan Athletic.

Ashton came back with a vengeance by storming to the 2nd Division title in 1962 – winning every home league game that season - and also taking the League Cup for good measure under the managership of former Scottish international Hugh Kelly (team pictured below).

1963 saw the club win the Intermediate Cup once more, a feat repeated in 1966. The club remained in the top flight of the Combination until 1964 until, continually frustrated in their attempts to re-join the Cheshire League, they embarked on a two year experiment of playing in the Midland League (team pictured below). During the 1964-65 season, Stuart Dimond - by now manager - was pressed into emergency action after an injury crisis and subsequently became the club’s oldest goalscorer, just short of his 44th birthday.

Midlands League football proved a financial disaster and the club re-joined the Lancashire Combination (2nd division) in 1966; two seasons later finally got their much sought after move back to the Cheshire League, where they stayed until the North West Counties League was formed in 1982. The intervening years had seen the club twice win the Manchester Senior Cup, whilst their first season in the NWCL saw Ashton land their second Manchester Premier Cup in three years.

In 1984 the club sank to its lowest point as they were relegated to the 2nd Division of the NWCL – four years later Ashton won promotion back to the top tier in impressive style as champions, but the club were still struggling off the pitch. Local businessman Terry Liversidge came to Hurst Cross in 1990 and helped transform the club and ground; in 1992, under manager Dave Denby, Ashton became the first team to win the NWCL title and the League Cup double, going on to win the League Challenge Cup and the Manchester Premier Cup for good measure (pictured below).

The club established itself as a force in the Northern Premier League 1st Division, finishing 3rd on six occasions over ten seasons and winning the First Division Cup in 1994, 1997 and 1999. The Robins posted their best ever FA Trophy run in 1997, before John Coleman’s side lost to Dagenham & Redbridge in the Quarter Finals (team pictured below prior to the game).

Where next?

Hurst FC; 20th century boys The club joined the Ashton and District League as the 19th century drew towards a close, but playing
Ashton United; A new millennium Ashton finally won promotion to the Premier Division via the inaugural NPL play-offs in 2002 (pictur

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