Two bites of cherry for the Blues!

WIGAN ATHLETIC V GILLINGHAM, WEMBLEY'Simon Haworth is swamped after scoring Wigan Athletic's equaliser. Picture Frank Orrell.
WIGAN ATHLETIC V GILLINGHAM, WEMBLEY'Simon Haworth is swamped after scoring Wigan Athletic's equaliser. Picture Frank Orrell.
Share this article

Having advanced to the latter stages of various competitions with Wigan Athletic as a player, Blues boss Simon Haworth is encouraging his players to seize and savour their moment.

The Welshman lost out in a two-legged play-off semi-final against Manchester City during his time with the Latics, and lost out in heart-breaking fashion in the final at Wembley the following season as Gillingham prevailed in extra time.

However, the striker was fortunate enough to taste victory at the national stadium in 1999 as Ray Mathias guided the club to glory in the Football League Trophy against Millwall, with midfielder Paul Rogers netting a last-minute winner.

Haworth admits that the occasion passed him by, with the expectation that ample finals would follow, but the Shawbridge chief has told his players that what they’ve achieved this season is unique and special.

The Blues twice fought back from a goal down to progress to the Integro League Cup semi-finals at the expense of Scarborough Athletic on Tuesday night.

On loan Chorley forward Louis Myers cancelled out Billy Logan’s opener, while Ryan Ellison did the same once Benny Igiehon had restored the away side’s advantage.

Myers then settled the tie in the 70th minute with a stunning angled drive that skidded past Joe Green to make it 3-2.

With Clitheroe also on the fringe of the Evo-Stik First Division North play-offs, and looking to reach the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy final, Haworth said: “We’ve got two semi-finals now so that’s two bites of the cherry. It’s unbelievable.

“I just hope we can get to one of them at least so the lads have got something that recognises their efforts.

“They’ve achieved so much, especially when you consider what we started with, and we’re still in with a shout of the play-offs.

“We’ve got games coming up which we can take points from. We will be in there right until the end. We just want to keep our season going for as long as possible on all three fronts. We need to keep it alive.

“The players deserve huge credit. They’ve done themselves, the club and the supporters proud. I want them to have something to show for their efforts.”

He added: “I’ve tried to tell them about my experiences in my team talk. I played in the Auto Windscreens Shield for Wigan against Millwall in front of 70,000 fans and the day just passed me by.

“Sometimes you just think that finals are going to come around every year but it doesn’t work like that. They’re rare and don’t come around often. I’m just trying to educate them on that side of things.

“I’m just trying to encourage the lads to grasp it, seize the moment and enjoy it. They’ve got three chances to achieve something.

“You don’t get to a final every year and some of the lads may never get to a final again. I was talking to Gaz (Roberts) and I think he said that he got to three in 20 years.

“They’ve done well to get this far but now I want them to finish it off and get their day out.

“What we’ve done is way and beyond what was expected. I want to get the lads to the Macron. It’ll be a tough ask if Chorley progress and we’re up against a team two divisions above us but it’ll be a great occasion.

“I think we’ve got half a chance of winning the League Cup. It’s going to be very challenging but we’ve got a great opportunity to achieve something very special.”

l Clitheroe are putting on a coach for supporters going to watch the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy semi-final against Radcliffe Borough at Leyland on Wednesday.

The Hodsons coach leaves Shawbridge at 6 p.m. for the LFA headquarters, returning after the game has finished.

All supporters are welcome and it will cost £8.

Contact Andrew Jackson on 07788 662294 to confirm your place.