08 Jul 2018 in General News
BOWEY: “HOME DRAWS ARE A MASSIVE BONUS”
By Brian Bennett
Ashington FC manager Steve Bowey said at the weekend that receiving home draws in cup competitions is a massive bonus. The boss was giving his reaction after the early rounds of two of the FA competitions – the Emirates FA Cup and the Buildbase FA Vase – were released on Friday.
Quite astonishingly, Ashington could potentially meet their neighbours Blyth AFC no fewer than three times inside the opening six weeks of the new season. The two sides clash in the Ebac Northern League division one curtain raiser on August 4 and in the FA Cup, if Ashington beat Knaresborough on August 11 and Blyth see off Glasshoughton, they will face each other again on August 25.
The Woodhorn Lane outfit have received a bye in the first qualifying round of the Vase – and will be at home to Crook Town or Blyth AFC in the second qualifying round on September 15. Bowey said: “First and foremost, we are at home in both competitions which is a massive bonus for non-league clubs. They are tough draws but we are more than capable of getting something out of them. We could face Blyth AFC three times - and if we do - would probably be tired of seeing each other by the end of the third game! It’s unfortunate that we have drawn them (Blyth AFC) twice but that is the way it is and we have got to focus purely on ourselves. These cup competitions mean so much to the clubs, the fans and the players. During my career, I’ve been on good runs reaching the second and third rounds of the FA Cup and it’s a fantastic feeling - and I would love nothing more than for us to get to the first round proper of the FA Cup which would be a dream – or to go through to the Vase final and win it. At the end of the day we want to attract people through the turnstiles and to play good attractive football and we want the local community of Ashington to get behind us. It’s great when the lads receive support from the people in and around the area. The FA Cup is an avenue all about getting your club back on the map. If you progress then everyone starts talking about it. I don’t want to be looking too far ahead but it’s massive from a financial point of view as well. Every non league player wants to compete against a professional outfit and we are no different. Some of our lads haven’t had that opportunity before - and it would be great for them to sample it.”