You can’t beat the magic of the FA Cup; we’re off to the Northwest Counties’ Ashton Athletic. They’d run riot in the previous round beating Mossley 7-2 from the league above, their record attendance was 202, we’d just had a disappointing defeat away at Gainsborough Trinity, what could possibly go wrong?
It’s seemed an idyllic setting, the bride and groom had just emerged from the village church, the bells were just starting to chime in celebration, we’d got caught at the traffic lights alongside the happy gathering then the Greetland Shayman put the music on at full volume. “We all go where the Shaymen go!” We were lucky the lights changed when they did based on the looks we got. I’m sure they were just pleased to welcome us to Ashton in Makerfield though!
You’ve got to give credit to the organisation at Ashton. We arrived about three hours before kick off and the volunteers were already in position directing us from the main road down the track into the club car park. The turnstiles were open, the music was playing, and even the top quality pie and peas were ready. It seemed that everyone at the club was up for this. The sign at the entrance to the clubhouse seemed to reflect the spirit of football club “Don’t complain until you’ve volunteered!” Everyone was doing their bit and they were expecting a record crowd.
Brocstedes Park is situated near the M6 motorway which provides a constant low level traffic rumble at the bottom side of the ground. The top side has a good sized clubhouse with bar and raised veranda providing a decent view across the pitch from around the halfway line. Two small stands with seats are available at either side of the clubhouse with a path behind each goal giving supporters a close up view to the goalmouth action.
Within two minutes of kick off the Shaymen took the lead, polite applause from the 350 or so travelling fans reflected a comfortable start and worries of a cup upset seemed to evaporate. At half time the score was 3-0; the announcement of the bar being closed at half time seemed the only downside.
The second half continued in the same way as the first in the warm sunshine, with 25 minutes to go it was 5-0. Coach driver Graham was delirious; he’d predicted a 5-0 win and was on course to scoop the car sweepstake on top of his half time draw win at the Shay last Saturday! There seemed little chance of the score staying the same but some good saves by the Ashton goalie kept the score respectable for the hosts.
Driving back and coach driver Graham was full of beans, it’s not often he gets a score prediction right and he’s using every moment to remind us of his winnings. Luckily for us we’re only an hour away from home! The rest of us are just happy to be in the next round with the possibility of another magical mystery tour on the road to Wembley. The draw is on Monday and we can’t wait….
Total miles on the road this season 974, total Goals 17
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