Sport

Trafford part-timers aiming high and eyeing a play-off spot after win over fellow hopefuls New Mills

 
Ambitious Trafford manager Garry Vaughan has his sights firmly set on a play-off spot after his side continued their imperious home form to dispatch New Mills.
 
Trafford were made to wait for their victory but strikes from leading scorer Michael Oates and Paul Ashton in the final third of the game secured maximum points.
 
And Vaughan, who made over 300 appearances for the Flixton-based club during a seven-year stint in the nineties, believes Trafford have the credentials to remain in the promotion mix.
 
“Our aspirations for this year are definitely the play-offs,” he said.
 
“Some people are saying we are punching well above our weight.
 
“But with the team I have put together this year and the style of football we play, people are finding it difficult to stick with us.
 
“With the squad I’ve got I am certainly looking for the play-offs.”
 
Victory against ninth-placed New Mills – Trafford’s 11th home win in 12 matches – was crucial, with the Millers having games in hand on teams at the division’s summit.
 
And Vaughan was a happy man to get back to winning ways and erase the memory of last weekend’s disappointing defeat to Radcliffe Borough at Stainton Park.
 
“We still played good football at Radcliffe but we wouldn’t have scored there if we had played all day,” he added.
 
“I was looking for a reaction and the reaction was top drawer.
 
“We were back playing our football and the goals from Oatesy and Paul Ashton were great football goals, pass and move.
 
“The formation that we played and the quality of our football meant New Mills could not live with us.
 
“It’s important to keep teams like New Mills below us, we’ve now gone ten points clear of them and although they’ve got games in hand they’ve got to win them.”
 
Trafford have been a revelation this season after occupying credible mid-table berths since winning promotion to the Evo-Stik League in 2008.
 
And pivotal to their impressive form has been Oates, who Vaughan reserved special praise for after the striker notched his 24th goal of the campaign.
 
“When I signed Oatesy people said I had signed a hard-worker but not a goalscorer,” he said.
 
“But I looked at his record before I signed him as I’m no mug and I look at things in-depth.
 
“When I looked he had been played for three, four, five games and then dropped for four because he hadn’t scored.
 
“I have given him a run and to be honest he is a cracking lad and an absolute gem of a find.”
 
Trafford’s bid for promotion continues on Tuesday evening when they entertain Skelmersdale United, who are the new league leaders after beating Mossley.
 
Elsewhere in Evo-Stik League Division One (North), Ramsbottom United’s five-goal thrashing of Garforth Town included two-goals apiece for Lee Gaskell and Jon Robinson.
 
Radcliffe Borough and Salford City both produced second-half fightbacks to salvage 2-2 draws from their games with Harrogate Railway Athletic and Cammell Laird respectively.
 
Curzon Ashton returned from West Yorkshire with a convincing 4-1 over Ossett Town under their belts, with Kristian Dennis netting his 26th goal of the season.
 
In the Evo-Stik Premier Division, two second-half strikes from Matthew Wolfenden gave FC United of Manchester a 2-1 over AFC Fylde at Gigg Lane.

Ashton United shared the spoils after a 2-2 draw with second-placed Hednesford Town at Hurst Cross.

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