Sam Ashton was born in Bolton, Lancashire on the 9th October 1986, he began his career as a professional footballer at Bolton Wanderers coming through the youth ranks before making his Football League debut on 7th January 2006 in the FA Cup 3rd round against Watford. After leaving his hometown club towards the end of the 2005–06 season he spent time on trial with a couple of non-League sides including Cambridge United and Radcliffe Borough before joining FC United of Manchester in the summer of 2006.
On the 26th July 2006, he made his debut for FC United of Manchester in a friendly against Bury Football Club, before making his competitive debut against St Helens Town on the opening day of the 2006-07 North West Counties Football League Division One season. Whilst at FC United he reached a couple of landmarks the first being fifty clean sheets and the second being his first career goal against Retford United. Having made 187 appearnces for the club, scoring 1 goal he left in July 2011 to secure first team football.
Ashton, then joined Skelmersdale United in the summer of 2011, were he stayed for two seasons, however during his second season with the club he also signed dual registration forms with Southport Football Club. Another move followed in May 2013, when Ashton joined Northern Premier League side Chorley Football Club. He was a part of the side that won the Premier League and gained promotion to the Conference North in 2014. However he suffered a serious crucial ligament injury in October 2016 which ruled him out for a full season and he left the club after making fifty-six appearances in 2017.
After playing two games for Kendal Town over the 2017 Christmas period he joined Ramsbottom United in January 2018, where he played under the current Lancaster City management team of Mark Fell and Graham Lancashire. Ashton, took the decision to join the pair at the Giant Axe were he holds the number one jersey.
Chadwick Media this week caught up with the Lancaster City goalkeeper Sam Ashton to ask him about his career and his toughts on this weekends FA Trophy (1st Round) match as well as the club’s strong start to the Bet Victor Northern Premier League season.
Biggest influence on your career in football?
The biggest influence on my career to be fair there has been a few, when I was at Bolton Wanderers I learnt my trade from goalkeeping coach Fred Barber. Then when I signed for Chorley Football Club Dave Hedley was great for me he knew what I needed. It’s going the same way now at Lancaster City with Wolfie he is great for me, he fills me with confidence and is getting me back to playing at the standard that I want to be playing at.
What is your best football highlight?
It’s difficult to pick just one highlight but I would say the penalty save at Brighton in the last minute to earn us a replay. Closely followed by the Conference Semi-Final against Boston United were I saved three penalties which helped us win the game.
Tell us about your League Debut?
My league debut was against Watford in the third round of the FA Cup on the 7th January 2006, Sam Allardyce was the Bolton Wanderers manager and I was named as one of the substitutes. However, in the last few minutes I replaced Jared Borgetti as a striker and it was a dream come true being a massive Bolton Wanderers fan.
Toughest Opponent You faced and Why?
There’s a few to be fair, but I would have to say the toughest player I have faced has to be Tom Greaves as he always seems to find the net against me no matter what I do. In terms of the toughest team I would say FC United of Manchester a few years ago because there fans really do know how to get behind the team.
Best save you have made and why?
There are a few that spring to mind, a save for FC United of Manchester against Bradford Park Avenue and the double save a few weeks ago for Lancaster against Radcliffe Football Club was up there definately.
Best manager you have played for and why?
The best manager I have played for would have to be Gary Flitcroft, I really did enjoy my time playing under him at Chorley Football Club. He was a good manager that had a no nonsense approach, but he really looked after his players and staff.
Best player you played with and why?
I have played with a few good players, but the one who stands out is Andrew Teague great captain great player nothing ever seemed to bother him, I was lucky enough to have played alongside him and to have him in front of me for five years.
Lancaster City currently sit third in the Bet Victor Northern Premier League how far do you think the club can go this season ?
It’s only early days yet we have made a great start but we have got a long way to go gonna be up and downs yet, but we have got a great bunch of lads which is always good especially when the weather changes you want to know that lads are gonna get stuck in together.
It’s another cup tie this weekend in the FA Trophy against Witton Albion a side in the top half of the Northern Premier League. What can we expect from the game and how do you prepare for the match?
I like playing in these games, I think it will be a tough game as Witton Albion have beat some good sides this year, we will turn up like it’s any other game and work hard to get the right result.