It was the club's Sportsman Dinner the night before and getting a phone call at midday to sort the kit out was not really what the doctor ordered but was the incentive I needed to drag myself out of my cot.
Our hosts Ashton Town had spent the summer trying to woo Blackburn Rovers fans after Ewood Park based club had recruited Owen Coyle as their manager. Mr Coyle has virtually done a full tour of managing Lancashire Football League clubs and Town Supremo Mark Hayes is a Wigan Athletic fanatic who seemingly has taken umbrage at Coyle's handling of his beloved club. Hence his offer of free Ashton Town season tickets to Rovers fans. There was the odd Rovers shirt seen in the ground.
The game started evenly but Town took the lead on 10 minutes. A speculative effort from distance had far too much power for young Colls custodian Paul 'Wazzer' Foster. Jordan Cover soon equalised from a tight angle after receiving a pass from Michael Lea. Town regained the advantage from a close range finish after the ball had bounced about in the penalty box. Both teams were trying to play good football but Colls were beginning to see more and more of the ball and it was no surprise when Gareth Peet thundered home another equaliser. As the half ended Colls were very much in the ascendency.
I managed to wash down my half time pie and chips with a can of Jamaica's finest (Red Stripe) and I was able to get out of the clubhouse for the commencement of the game. Three or four of my contemporaries were a little more one paced downing their vittles/beers and missed a cracking restart. Firstly Cover finished off a good team move from yards out and then Ben Hardcastle scored from 20 yards out with the Town custodian looking unsighted. There was then a bit of a lull in the goalscoring until the 70th minute when a Town defender prodded an inviting cross past his own keeper under pressure from Mark Battersby. Bradley Cooke soon made it the half dozen before Cover scored a solo goal after taking a pinpoint ball out of defence in his stride. Late on Hardcastle added his second and then Cover got his fourth. A fine second half display which certainly raised my spirits after the previous nights excesses.
Paul Foster, Jake Kenny, Mike Lea, Vinny Bailey, Matty Grimshaw, Danny Lafferty, Ben Hardcastle, Bradley Cooke, Mark Battersby. Jordan Cover & Gareth Peet
Subs - Lewis Coleman, Chris Pauley and the welcome return of 'The Tank' James Brooks.