ASHTON UNITED have stuck with a winning formula by naming Jody Banim and Will Haining as the Evo-Stik Premier club’s joint-managers.
Many non-league clubs are still unconvinced about whether joint-managers work but Steve Halford and Paul Phillips certainly did alright at Ashton before being lured to Stalybridge Celtic earlier this month. The managerial duo have led the Robins to the Evo-Stik Premier play-offs in each of the last three seasons and left with Ashton still unbeaten at the start of the campaign.
Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley have also done well, at Salford City and Ramsbotton United before that, and Ashton trialled a similar arrangement by putting Banim and Haining in temporary charge just over two weeks ago. The Robins interviewed several applicants but with Banim and Haining having maintained their unbeaten start, they were handed the job on a permanent basis before Tuesday night’s home match against second-placed Buxton.
Chairman Terry Hollis said: “The playing squad and fans have responded extremely positively to the efforts of Will and Jody who, in turn, have conducted themselves in a very professional and pragmatic way, bringing stability to the club very quickly.
“This presented the board with a simple, ‘if it ‘ain’t broke, why try to fix it?’ decision. We will now look to support our management team in every way that we can, as we look to build upon the foundations laid over the past three years.”
Haining played 180 games for Oldham before joining Scottish side St Mirren and returning to England with Morecambe. The 33-year-old centre-half then dropped into non-league in 2013, playing for Hyde United and Macclesfield Town before joining Ashton last year.
Banim, 38, had prolific spells at Trafford, Flixton, Hyde and Radcliffe Borough before earning a move to Shrewsbury Town in 2003. The nomadic striker went on to play for the likes of Droylsden, Altrincham, Salford, Stalybridge Celtic and Ashton, before returning to Hurst Cross from Radcliffe this summer.
However, the Robins’ unbeaten league start came to an end on Tuesday as Buxton enjoyed a 3-1 away win to go top of the table. Jack Dorney’s 19th-minute opener for the hosts was cancelled out by Danny Burns from a 71st-minute corner before Bradley Abbott rounded off a Buxton break to score in stoppage time. And there was still time for Bradley Grayson to get in on the act, condemning fourth-placed Ashton to their first league defeat from nine games.
In the Evo-Stik North, TRAFFORD came back from 1-0 down to win 3-1 at Colne after second-half goals by Mitch Bryant, Aaron Burns and Nicky Platt, while a Frank van Gills brace set RADCLIFFE on course for a 3-1 home win against Kendal Town.
DROYLSDEN also fought back, from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at Glossop thanks to goals from Liam Caddick and Stephen Lewis. And although MOSSLEY and RAMSBOTTOM both went in front on the road, they ended up losing 4-1 at Bamber Bridge and 3-1 at Lancaster City, respectively.
Trafford are up to ninth, with Radcliffe and Mossley below them on goal difference. Droylsden and Ramsbottom are joint 17th, two points above 19th-placed Hyde, who do have games in hand after their FA Cup run.