From The Dugout | David Powell’s programme notes, vs Ashton Athletic, 27th April

Taken from the programme for the visit of Ashton Athletic, available on the gate for £2.

The reasons behind my praise of the character of our players in my piece in Bank holiday Monday’s programme were reinforced once again in the Abbey Hey game. The lads showing amazing togetherness and resilience to fight back from a 1-2 deficit at half time to blow away our opponents with a second half display filled with determination, focus and no shortage of quality to produce the result we needed to give us a fighting chance to continue our survival push.  

The endeavours were undoubtedly fuelled by the superb sideline support again, and hopefully another bumper crowd will do likewise today.  

There is still more work to do after some surprising results over the Easter games with Winsford matching our own good form and Hanley also picking up a win to keep their noses in front of us.  

There are a number of permutations that could play out on the last day of the season so it will be important for us to concentrate on OUR task in hand, getting the players well prepared and focused to give us the best chance of winning today’s game against Ashton, simple as that.  

When the management team and myself came into the Club in mid-December, the team had a meagre 9 points on the board after 20 games. We expected it was going to go to the wire if we could turn things around and so it has played out.   

Howeverwhen we got off to a flyer with 5 wins in six games we had hoped for an easier ride. Some key player injuries, suspensions and unavailability in the new year unfortunately stalled our progress.  

I am very proud of the way the squad has dug in and recovered to get us to today’s game still with a shout in proceedings.  

Ashton have had a strong end to the season and it is good to see how well they have done under the management of team of Jay Foulds and Dougie Pitts, and the chairmanship of my old friend and former team mate Jimmy Whyte. 

I spent many years at Ashton as player and then manager, as the Club took the path from Manchester League one through to the NWCFL Premier division and having contributed towards the organisation of the ground improvements and funding thereof it is also good to see how well the ground is looking with the volunteers doing a great job as ours do at West.  

Whatever the result today, and outcomes elsewhere, I can only thank everyone involved with, and backing the Club for the superb support over the last four months. 

The lads will give their all and fully expect them to succeed. 

Enjoy the game! 

                             David 

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