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Ashton Athletic v Hanley Town
A bright start for the Yellows

Sun 1st October 2017 | Ashton Athletic
By Ian Templeman

Ashton Athletic's victory over Liversedge in the FA Vase last Thursday night continued the Yellows' great form in cup ties so far this season.

Thursday's win was their seventh in eight cup ties - not counting the original game against Liversedge the previous Saturday, when the game was abandoned after 70 minutes with Athletic leading 3-0 - with the sole defeat coming against Chorley in the Emirates FA Cup.

They now have a mouth watering Vase game against 2016 winners Morpeth Town to look forward to a week on Saturday, and with just one defeat in the league so far, it's been an encouraging start overall for the Yellows.

Joint-managers Jay Foulds and Dougie Pitts shared their thoughts on the campaign so far, and their hopes for the rest of the season.

The game against Chorley in the Emirates FA Cup:

Dougie - Chorley are obviously a good side, from three leagues above us but I don't think it's being disrespectful to say that we felt we deserved a replay.

In the first half we had the better chances, and I think the lads with their work rate deserved a draw. It took a wonder goal to win it from a goo d player, Nick Haughton.

We spoke before the game about the Halifax Town game last year (also in the FA Cup) when we maybe didn't do ourselves justice but that wasn't the case against Chorley. We were proud of the lads and couldn't have asked any more of them.

The performances so far:

Dougie - We've added one or two to the squad which I think has brought quite a bit, but we have had a lot of the lads with us now for the duration we have been here and they have grown up and matured as players and people.

They have been absolutely fantastic this season, and we couldn't have asked any more of them from the day we started back in pre-season. The mentality, the work rate, the togetherness has been fantastic, and I think they believe in themselves a bit more.

Jay - We've got a good squad of lads, and I feel like we have a different mentality and we have got players to adapt to different opposition better than before, and I think we have turned the corner with quite a few of them.

In the last few games, for example against Northwich Vics we went 1-0 down, and showed a great attitude, turned it around and went on to win 5-1. At Abbey Hey, which is never an easy place to go, we ground out a result there, and in the past those are the types of games where we'd struggle.

We seem to have turned the corner, but there's a long way to go to the end of the season.

Dougie - Also, we have been conceding less than a goal a game and scoring an average of over two a game, two and a half if you include pre-season games, and you are always going to do well in games if you do that.

In previous years we've always been tough to beat, but have struggled a bit goal scoring-wise, but now we have people scoring goals and the wide players have been chipping in as well. Josh Nicholson has been fantastic since he came in, and Dale Korie-Butler and Joel Brownhill too have done really well.

The FA Vase draw and a home tie against Morpeth Town

Jay - I'm starting to enjoy Mondays, especially around 1pm when I continually press refresh on my laptop to find out cup opponents.

When the fixture appeared I knew instantly that if we could overcome Liversedge on Thursday this could be the hardest tie of the round. A quick check on the internet confirmed my thoughts when I read they won the Vase in 2016!

Any team from the Northern League are difficult opposition as we have seen over the years, but we will focus on ourselves. Morpeth are currently top of the league with just 1 defeat in 18 games which is very impressive so we will have to be at our best on the day.

We will treat this as every other game and fingers crossed we can continue our fabulous cup form and knock out the current bookies favourites.

Dougie - We are delighted to get this far and obviously the further you get in a cup competition you expect the opposition to get better. When the draw came out I don’t think we could have got a tougher tie than Morpeth Town!

The Northern League is extremely strong and you haven’t had to look far from that league for recent winners of the Vase. It will be a tough ask but we have home advantage and I’m sure we will be as prepared as we can be come the 11th November.

We are really looking forward to testing ourselves against a strong side but we will also go into the game with no fear and looking to get the right result.

The rest of the season

Jay - Obviously we are a bit concerned with being quite a few games behind everyone else (in league fixtures), but when you play games you want to win them, you want to win everything.

We will only find out at the end of the season if it's had a negative effect on where we finish. but at the minute, we are just taking it game by game and see how we go on.

The possibility of two going up (from the Premier Division) is a big thing, you are probably never going to get a better chance of going up than this season. It's always good to have games in hand but you've got to win them.

I've been in that situation before, where you are chasing games. but if we keep working hard, stay injury free and don't have a long spell of weeks when we are missing games (through postponements). We just want to keep playing, we always say that wins breed confidence.

Dougie - With the Chorley game it's one loss in 15 games which is not at all bad. But we are happy to be in as many cup competitions as we are, and whether it's a league or a cup game we want to win it.

We have said to the lads we trust them all, and different players will play in different games in the coming weeks. There are a few who maybe haven't played as many minutes as they would like, but we will change it around a bit and get lads more minutes.

Jay - We will look to get some more league fixtures in on free weeks, but for now the cups are important and the Vase is massive for us. It's a great opportunity to earn some much needed funds for the club, and realistically it's a chance to play at Wembley.

We're not naive, but we have got as good a chance as anybody, and we have proved that on our day we can beat anyone.


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