Some independent views of Ashton Town
A Groundhopper's thoughts on the game against New Mills
Groundhopper Mike Latham attended our game against New Mills and wrote a report of his evening for the website www.footballgroundsinfocus.com. His trips throughout April can be read about on the "Travellers Tales" section on the web site, and his report on the New Mills game is reporduced below.
Tues 26 Apr 2005, NWCL2; Ashton Town 4-1 New Mills
This was a landmark game in the history of Ashton Town - originally formed in 1953 as Makerfield Mill FC. With floodlights due to be installed at their Edge Green Street home in the next few weeks to satisfy membership criteria of the NWCL for next season it marked the end of the 6-15 midweek kick-off. I must admit I will miss them in a funny sort of way. Programme editor Ian Templeman must be congratulated for the splendid 32-page publication (£1) he produced for this game.
Ashton Town have been members of the NWCL since its inception in 1982 apart from one season in the Manchester League. Situated just off the Golborne Road from the town of Ashton-in-Makerfield south of Wigan, the ground is to be found off a pleasant residential road and is surrounded by houses. Unlike experiences elsewhere those same residents fully supported the club's application to install lights, preferring for the club to stay where it is than the site be developed by property developers.
A well kept playing pitch is the first thing you notice on entry, as well as a warm welcome from club officials. There is a small club house behind the goals at the top end, a changing room block down one side and a small seated stand and cover on the opposite side.
With visitors New Mills arriving in dribs and drabs the game only kicked-off at 6.55pm and referee S Parker shrewdly kept the halftime interval to a minimum in order to finish the game in the light. New Mills took an early lead but a splendid header by Neil Parkinson levelled the scores just before halftime and Ashton went on to record a convincing victory with three second half goals to leapfrog their opponents in the table. They were indebted, though,to some fine saves by 'keeper Danny Vickers.
There was an amazing on-pitch altercation at the break between the visitors' coaching staff and captain leading to the latter walking off the field and being replaced by a second half substitute. No such problems for Ashton who looked a cheerful and well organised team and with the rare inclusion of identical twins in Paul and Karl Atherton.
In general the game was played in a good spirit and was officiated extremely well. With most of the players having rushed to the ground from work or about to rush from work to begin a night shift the entertainment on offer was excellent value for the £2 admission price.
Ashton Town have now won their last four games but pity the poor press officer - Saturday's game against Nelson will be the eighth home game in five weeks and he started the season with four home games in a fortnight. In between he had only eight home games in seven months for which to prepare a programme. Great entertainment, a friendly welcome and a pleasant ground- highly recommended.
Referee praises Ashton Town after Padiham game
On the evening of Saturday 12th February, after he had refereed our match against Padiham at Edge Green Street, the match referee Ian Rose sent the following note to North West Counties League Secretary Geoff Wilkinson, and Referees Secretary Ron Bridges. The note has been forwarded to us from Ron Bridges, and is reproduced here in full.
During this season, I have visited numerous clubs in the league, both as an Assistant Referee (appointed by The FA) on 1st Division games and as a Referee on the 2nd division. I have met a number of good secretaries, friendly officials and helpful groundsmen, but never all at the same club. That is until today.
I am fully aware of the high standards, that the league expects of its member clubs and feel that Ashton Town have far exceeded the required standard.
Within days of receiving the fixture, I had been contacted by the clubs secretary, in writing, confirming the fixture. The letter contained all the necessary information and also identified that the club was in a residential area, and requested that we consider this when approaching the club by car. This, in my opinion, highlights the clubs thoughtfulness with respect to the local community.
This morning, the weather was atrocious and when I was contacted by the club, I was half expecting them to inform me that they had called in a local referee who believed that the game should be postponed. They had in fact called in a referee, who believed (at that time) that the pitch was playable.
On arriving at the ground, I was welcomed by a club official, who offered me the customary hospitality.
On inspecting the field of play, it was obvious to see, the hours of work that the groundsman puts in, not just today, but every week so as to produce an excellent playing surface. I appreciate that the clubs are expected to make every effort to ensure that their pitch is playable, but as you can see from the number of postponements today, nobody would have criticised the club had the game been postponed. It was only due to the dedication and professionalism of the groundsman, both today and throughout the season (it was obvious by looking at the pitch that a very large proportion of it had been forked) that a game of football was able to be played on it today. To his credit, he never once tried to influence me in any way whilst I inspected the pitch, despite the fact that by playing the game he would have to spend hours repairing any damage caused.
Despite the poor weather, the pitch held up extremely well, with an excellent game of football being played. Despite losing, the Padiham officials agreed that the pitch was in no way to blame.
The after match hospitality, was as good as any that I have received, with everyone (visiting officials, players and match officials) being made to feel extremely welcome.
Ashton Town may not have the newest facilities in the league, but this is a club that the league can be proud of.
The secretary, groundsman and officials are a credit to their club.