Ash Dexter has a message for you captaining Hall Road’s title winning season.
I am writing to you as a local semi-professional footballer who juggles his life around his day job as a Progress Leader at a Secondary School and travelling around the whole of Yorkshire and beyond. My name is Ashley Dexter and I was lucky enough to be one of the players involved in this year’s promotion for Hall Road Rangers.
This season was my first year at Hall Road and looking back to pre-season I was encouraged/ pestered to come and have a look at what the new manager Dave Ricardo and Hall Road Rangers had to offer. Dave is a bloke I had a lot of respect for and I had known and played against him for the best part of a decade.
You could see Dave was excited at the prospect of building something special when I spoke to him and he wanted me to be a big part of things, after two training sessions he had told me he wanted me to be club captain. I liked the idea of this as I felt my time at previous club Barton Town was coming to an end as even though I was club captain i didn’t feel as liked/ rated as I once was by the management.
Other things at Hall Road that impressed me were the hard work that volunteers such as Lee Myers and Alan Chapman put in. They would be at the ground working tirelessly before and after each session doing a whole host of jobs.
After around four sessions I knew I wanted to sign for the club so I spoke to numerous other contacts I had and encouraged them to join me at the club. Pre-season was tough, there was lots of high tempo graft but generally the balls were out which is always good from a players point of view.
The season soon came around and it was clear to see we had bags of potential but as a team we didn’t click straight away, we had quite a few wins but we conceded too many goals and lacked shape and an understanding in some games.
As time went on we gained trust in each other and the gaffer and coaches played to our strengths in playing a high tempo pressing game with stability down the spine of the team and we would get the ball out wide and try and hurt teams. The signing of Phil Dobson and moving James Piercy further back to centre half were two huge components in which has helped us win the league.
We managed to keep lots of clean sheets and ground out lots of wins and very few losses. Personally my favourite game of the season baring the Campion game which won us the league would have to be Hallam away. They had beaten us early on in the season 4-1 and they have a very strong side. We managed to win the game 1-0 and I was lucky enough to turn an inch perfect free kick from Chris Spinks into an empty net.
Going into the final weeks of the season as ourselves, Pontefract and Emley were the 3 remaining teams fighting for the 2 automatic promotion places. We managed to hold our nerve and win our last four league games which was just enough to win the league.
Overall it was an amazing season, we gathered a total of 96 points out of our 42 league games and also had a good FA Vase run and lost to a strong Hull City u23 side in a cup semi-final. Training up to three times a week and playing twice a week is a huge commitment but this year it was most certainly worth each and every minute.