Golcar United boss Ash Connor is proud of his side for what they have achieved in 2021 but is dreaming of bigger things in 2022. 

Ash is joint manager at the Skye Direct Stadium with brother Gav and it’s been a great first half to the season. Golcar, beaten just three times, sat proudly on top of the North West Counties Division One North table at Christmas.

The title race is developing into a three-way tussle with unbeaten Bury AFC still favourites and Holker Old Boys mounting a serious challenge too.

Despite a confusing start to 2021 with a Covid-19 lockdown, Ash and Gav were confident the year ahead could be a good one for the Weavers. With the 2020/21 season in the history books after being abandoned due to the pandemic the wait for news was lengthy. 

Teams at Golcar’s level were offered the chance to play in a local tournament organised by Brighouse Town with Covid restrictions permitting, and so the Yorkshire Trophy commenced on May 17. Golcar played Nostell Miners Welfare and Liversedge in their group games. They then played Penistone Church in the semi-final. Despite putting on a good performance Golcar’s dream of silverware was over as they were defeated. 

Looking back on that early year period Ash said: “No one knew really in the early part of the year what was going to happen. There were lots of things being suggested but no one knew how the virus would continue. It was frustrating but there wasn’t a lot we could do.

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“I thought the Yorkshire Trophy was a brilliant idea and helped to lift people’s spirits. I thought we competed really well in the competition especially since we were the lowest ranked team there. There were some good teams and credit to Penistone on the day they beat us in the semi-final.

“The most important thing though is that it kept our players fit and hungry and with a short break between that competition and going into pre-season we looked really fit. 

“I definitely feel like that competition provided a springboard to how we have performed so far this season. The team could really gel in those games and so by the time the first league game came around we were looking good.”

Ash Flynn with his Player of the Month award. Photography by: SEAN DOYLE

Golcar added experience to their squad and goal scoring talent too in the shape of Ash Flynn, a signing which showed the depth of the club’s ambition. The joint managers were pleased with the shape of the squad going into the season.

“We felt we had been able to build a really good squad with positivity running through it,” said Ash. “They are a great bunch of lads who work hard for each other.”

The Weavers started the season in unbelievable fashion. Out of their first seven games they drew one and won six. They scored 20 goals in that period which included the great 3-2 win over Campion after being 2-0 down. United were awarded Club of the Month for August and Flynn was awarded Player of the Month. 

September also went well for the Weavers with a 6-2 win over high-flying Pilkington. The month also included two FA Vase wins over Handsworth and then Wythenshawe.

READ MORE: Ash Flynn may have grabbed the goals and the headlines but this is Golcar’s unsung hero

October was slightly more disappointing as the Weavers were defeated for the first time. They lost 7-3 to Bury AFC in what was a bitterly disappointing night for the team. They were also knocked out if the FA Vase by Newcastle Benfield. Despite those defeats the club did still pick up four wins. 

A mixed November saw three wins and three losses for United. Defeats to Blackpool and St Helens in the league could have derailed what had been a near perfect season for Golcar so far. A defeat in the West Riding Cup was also disappointing. However a 4-3 and 3-2 wins over AFC Darwen in what were classic fixtures certainly helped lift the spirits. 

December started with two wins from two games and top spot for Christmas and while Golcar are three points clear, their rivals have games in hand. Flynn, meanwhile, repaid the faith in spades and was the division’s 27-goal top scorer at Christmas.

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On the league season so far Ash said: “If you’d have offered me where we are in the table now back at the start of the season I would certainly have taken it. It’s been a tough season so far and there is still lots of football to be played. 

“Both myself and Gav are very proud of the lads. We set out at the start of the season to get promoted and we are challenging for that so far.” 

Ash is looking forward to the rest of the campaign and hopes 2022 will be a history-making season. 

“We just need to continue as we have been doing,” he said. “If we have a similar second half to the season we should be there or thereabouts come the end.”