Jez's stopper story deserved telling!

Ashton United's press officer Jez Sayle has charted the EVO-STIK League club's mixed fortunes in the goal-keeping department over the last year after it worked out at an average rate of one a month!

Sayle decided to remind fans of their ups and downs after defender Aaron Chalmers was even called into action at Hurst cross on Bank Holiday, pictured, after former Rochdale keeper Jon Diba Musanga was carried off with a first half injury on his Robins debut against Buxton.

Ashley Frith was resigned by manager Jody Banim at the start of September after the 4-1 reverse, prompting Sayle to pen his article at the start of what he hopes will be a more settled period between the sticks for the Robins and their manager!

In his article for club's official website, Sayle wrote: "On September 3rd 2016 Paul Phillips played his 209th and final game for Ashton United before leaving the club to take over as joint manager with Steve Halford at Stalybridge Celtic - since then goalkeepers have enjoyed mixed fortunes at Hurst Cross.

Early blow: David Carnell

Early blow: David Carnell

"With the then first choice keeper Grant Shenton also out injured, caretaker managers Jody Banim and Will Haining's first priority upon taking over from Phillips and Halford was to secure the services of a stand-in keeper and Terry Smith made a welcome return to the club on loan from Trafford, having previously made 200 appearance for the club during Danny Johnson's time as manager. He played 14 times over the next two months, missing only one game when a fit-again Shenton returned to action before deciding his future also lay with Stalybridge Celtic.

"Smith was replaced with another loanee, Macclesfield Town's Ritchie Branagan, son of former Football League keeper Keith. He made five appearances before being released by parent club Macclesfield and immediately signing for Conference North side Chorley. In came Abbey Hey's Jonny McIlwaine for three games before Huddersfield Town's George Dorrington was signed on loan - unfortunately the Terriers' player broke his ankle within the first ten minutes of his debut and midfielder Richard Smith had to take over in goal for the rest of the game.

"McIlwaine was recalled for two further appearances before teenager Luke Pilling was signed on loan from Tranmere Rovers in January; Pilling managed to last the season out unscathed in the Ashton goal and then went to the Toulon U20s tournament to represent Wales that summer, where he was selected for the 'Team of the Tournament'.

"The new season saw the first permanent goalkeeper signing of the year in the shape of the experienced Dave Carnell. Carnell kept a second successive clean sheet on Saturday 26th at Sutton Coldfield, despite playing with a pulled hamstring that necessitated Aaron Chalmers to take goalkicks. For the Bank Holiday Monday clash with Buxton, former Rochdale keeper Jon Diba Musanga was signed by Ashton but he was carried off after a first half injury, leaving Chalmers to take not only the goal kicks but also the green jersey.

"Former Wigan trainee Max Povey is another goalkeeper currently on Ashton's books - he signed at the start of the season but is awaiting international clearance after playing in Wales last season, so Ashley Frith was re-signed, having previously played once for Ashton back in 2013, and made his second club debut on 2nd September 2017, becoming the twelfth player to wear the Ashton goalkeeper's jersey in a competitive match in 365 days... what a year!"

Images courtesy of Ashton United

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Where next?

Tuesday's First Division South review Tuesday night's matches in the EVO-STIK League South were notable for the first defeats of the season to date suffered by newcomers Peterborough Sports and Alvechurch, writes Pitchero's Steve Whitney.
Cricket comes before cup clash Cup kings Stourbridge will be the last of the EVO-STIK League's flag-bearers to kick off in the next round of the Emirates FA Cup thanks to their cricketing neighbours.

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