Hurst Cross – Ashton United

14 Mar

Ashton United – 2

Colwyn Bay – 1

Evostik League Cup Quarter Final – 28th February 2011

At which point do you start caring about a cup tournament?

Most league systems do have a league competition, where teams in the league divisions play each other in a cup, it just seems that the Evostik league seems to have more than most. As well as competitions for the three leagues (Premier, North & South), there’s also the Evostik League Cup that encompasses all three. Colwyn Bay have been pulling victories from the jaws of defeat in this competiton – going to penalties at least once. I was chuffed most times, as I could go to a few games that were dotted around Manchester – always good fun on a Tuesday.

So whilst I was delighted with the visit to Ashton United in the Evostik League Cup, I doubt my fellow Bay fans & players weren’t. An away day in North East Manchester on a Monday night at the end of February for the Bay faithful probably isn’t high on their wishlist, particularly with a playoff push. A playoff push that had wobbled in the last few games with a few big losses. With all thing considered, there wasn’t that many Bay fans, and those that turned up did get to see a bunch of fringe players play for the Bay. I doubt we even cared really.

I was so excited I managed to rope my Chester supporting mate to give me a lift to the football and back. No public transport for me on this away day! For some reason, public transport for Tuesday night games are abysmal (see my trip to Burscough and Kidsgrove Athletic), so for me not having to bother with it is bliss. We have other problems (such as sattelite navigation systems having no clue about the back ends of Woodley), but generally the trips go without a hitch.

Proper Programme Stand

One problem that arose when we arrived at Hurst Cross was the parking. Not in the easiest place to access, Ashton United’s ground is down a side street with not much parking. Remember that game you played when you were little where you moved cars to move your car from the end of the car park to the exit? Ashton’s car park is like that. Luckily with a few minutes until kick off we managed to get a place that not only was easy to get into, it was also easy to get out of. Which was good, as we were running late to the football.

We went into the ground, and were greeted with one of the most impressive grounds at this level. It was almost in a bowl, a colluseum esque, with portacabins for the club shop & refreshments. They have a proper stand for programmes, a clubhouse and a directors clubhouse (more on the former later). I couldn’t find a way into the clubhouse in the first house, so with a burger and chips (which wasn’t too bad), I took a pew in a corner of the ground, and witness the teams come out to some godawful walk on music.

Proper Fans

Luckily, from the kickoff, the music was soon replaced with the sound of actual cheering. I was surprised, it was the league cup? Nobody cares? Well, nobody told the percussion instrument wielding Ashton fans. It was refreshing to hear, and it was to continue for the whole ninety minutes. This seemed to galvanise Ashton, who took the lead on 10 minutes with Ryan Crowther shot through Joe McMahon’s legs in a well taken shot following a cross from the left wing from Jonathan Bathurst. Ashton pushed for a second, shooting narrowly over and wide. So it was surprising that after 40 minutes Karl Noon scored a tap in from Gareth Evans’ cross. Half time 1-1.

We headed to the clubhouse and got speaking to some of the fans. For some reason, it wasn’t just Colwyn Bay and Ashton fans at the game: Chroley, Chester and other teams had fans present at this game. Not bad for a league cup game. Furthermore, Ashton’s clubhouse is a delightful pub. Plenty of High Definition TV’s with the football on, quiz machines, fruit machines, a dartboard and a fine range of ales and lagers. It’s used not only for games, but also as a pub – albeit one that closes a little early on matchdays to serve the people who go to the football. Hence why I couldn’t get in before the game: one of the regulars took exception to being kicked out and ended up barricading himself in. Marvellous.

Second half kicked off, and when another low cross came in from the right hand side from Ashton saw an own goal from Danny Grannon, to score and to eventually take the tie 2-1. This was the only highlight of another dull second half, but there were a couple of other incidents and events of the second half that were worthy of note.

Proper Ground

The first was the growth of the Twitter tag #getwynneon. On the seagulls forum a post was floated that suggested I was on the bench. Being bored I retweeted it, which got picked up by a few people (mentioning no names), and somehow it got reported as fact, with even the BBC retweeting it. Alas it wasn’t true, and I tried to stop the rumour spreading, but I may have been the proverbial twelfth man.

You see, with my camera, I was asked by some of the Colwyn Bay management to take a few photos. Rumours circulated that Ashton fielded an illegal player. These rumours were eventually quashed, but not after spending the second half trying to take covert photos of Ashton’s number 5.

So, do you care about the league cup? I think – in all honesty – people do.

About Rhys Wynne

Rhys Wynne is the editor & creator of You're Supposed To Be At Home. For his sins, he is a Colwyn Bay & Liverpool fan, and a serial blog creator. You can follow Rhys on twitter here.