Programme notes: An introduction to today’s game, vs Ashton Athletic, 27th April

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

Good afternoon and welcome to today’s final Hallmark Security Premier league fixture of the season against our friends from Ashton Athletic.

We welcome their officials, players and supporters to Brookburn Road, and we hope they enjoy our hospitality today. After a traumatic season we are delighted to go into the game today still in with a chance of avoiding relegation, a situation which seemed unlikely even a few short weeks ago. That we are in this situation is down to a terrific run of results recently which has seen us win our last 3 games to haul ourselves closer to the sides immediately above us. Credit for this must go to the management and players, who have shown tremendous determination to stay in this division.  

Today is the final step along that road and, although there is a scenario whereby a draw would be sufficient today, we must assume we have to win the game to maintain our Premier division status. To achieve this we could hardly have asked for a more difficult opponent. Ashton are an excellent side who sit in 6th place in the league with good results against all the top teams and who have already defeated us 5-0 on two occasions this season, in the league and also the Lancashire Trophy, where they went on to lose narrowly to National League North side Southport in the semi final .So a really difficult game is expected today, but we need one more huge effort to achieve our goal.   

Supporters at our last 2 games have seen 2 outstanding contenders for goal of the season. Zac Cooper’s superb 30 yard volley last Saturday deserved a far bigger audience than the 70 who were at Litherland, where we pulled off a convincing 4-0 win. On Easter Monday a bumper crowd of 524 were treated to a stunning strike from Ramirez Howarth who chipped the keeper Beckham style from the half way line, the final goal in our nervy 4-2 win over Abbey Hey, having to come from 2-1 down at half time

Our Women’s team achieved the victory they needed last week against Northwich Vixens to win the league title. They are now promoted to the NWWRFL Premier division, a tremendous achievement, and credit must go to the ladies and their management team for a magnificent season. Our Women’s Development team will also win their league with a victory tomorrow against Swinton. This game is here at 5.30pm immediately following the women’s game against LIverpool Feds Res at 2pm.

As is usual at the end of the season it is time to say thank you to the people who give up so much time to ensure the smooth running of the club. To the committee who, in addition to the day to day running of the club, have put in a tremendous amount of work behind the scenes on the future development of the club both on and off the field. Plans are in hand for the extension of the club house and renovation of the surrounds including the car parks. Fund raising efforts will soon be announced and we look forward to everyone becoming involved in helping to take the club to the next stage. We are proud that our club is firmly placed at the centre of the local community and we are determined to extend this ethos over the coming years. To the Management team, officials, physios, backroom staff and not least the players we thank you for your efforts in what has been a most difficult season. Management and players give up a huge amount of personal time to represent the club and we thank them for this commitment.

To our sponsors and advertisers, your contribution is vital to the running of the club and we thank you for your efforts, both personal and financial. 

Finally, huge thanks must go to our supporters and the army of volunteers who help us out on matchdays, from bar staff and tea bar staff to raffle sellers and stewards. We have undoubtedly the best supporters in the league, our attendances continue to increase irrespective of results on the field, with 2 gates of over 500 and an average of over 300, 2nd only to City of Liverpool. We thank you wholeheartedly for your support and look forward to seeing you again next season.   

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