Match Preview: Ashton United (H)

Hednesford Town will be looking to bounce back quickly from their mid-week FA Cup defeat at Buxton as they restart their league campaign after almost a month break against Ashton United.

The game also marks Non-League Day and an expectant Keys Park crowd should see an entertaining game with Ashton proving a stern test for Rob Smith’s men as the Manchester outfit currently sit fifth in the league.

Smith, speaking the day after Hednesford’s FA Cup exit, admitted his players were down but was keen to stress that the spirit of his squad will see them recover from the disappointment of losing out in extra time to Buxton on Wednesday night.

‘I won’t deny it will be difficult to get the players back up but I believe in the spirit of this squad, and we will bounce back. I thought there was nothing between the teams. It was a good cup tie and we have to take it on the chin.’

The Pitmen squad, no doubt in need of a long rest after an extremely tough 120 minutes, has been refreshed by the signing of Luke Bottomer, which was confirmed this week after his paperwork was signed off on Monday.

Sean O’Connor continued his recovery from back trouble on Wednesday night with a substitute appearance but John Disney (Family Bereavement), Alex Melbourne (Knee) and Darren Campion (Ankle) are all doubtful for the game.

Ashton lost 4-2 to current league leaders Marine in midweek but Smith is fully aware how much of a test they will provide to his team as they look to restart the momentum they built up during the initial eight games of the season.

‘The Buxton Manager said that for twenty minutes Ashton played them off the park, two sending offs changed the game, and last Saturday they had a great win at Witton, so we know they are one of the better teams in the league. To be honest it will be nice to now get some league games in, it’s important we get some wins on the board in the league’.

Hednesford could conceivably rise to third in the table with a victory against Ashton and, with festivities planned for the fixture to promote Non-League Day, there is no better time for The Pitmen to show they have moved on from their FA Cup disappointment and impress supporters old and new at Keys Park with a win.

Pitmen Form – WWWWDL
Previous Result – Buxton 2 Hednesford Town 1 – Wednesday 10th October – FA Cup Third Qualifying Round Replay
Next Fixture – Nantwich Town (A) – Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division – Tuesday 16th October
League Position – 7th

Ashton Form – DLLLWL
Previous Result – Ashton United 2 Marine 4 – Wednesday 10th October – Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division
Next Fixture – New Mills (H) – Wednesday 17th October – Manchester Premier Cup 1st Round
League Position – 5th

KO – 3pm
Address of Ground – Keys Park, Keys Park Road, Hednesford, Staffordshire, WS12 2DZ

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