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We're aiming to give Ash a winning send-off – Evans

By The Citizen  |  Posted: February 22, 2013

final hurrah: Ashley Thomas (left) has his last game for Shortwood tomorrow

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SHORTWOOD United's players will be given one simple instruction when they face Didcot Town at Meadowbank tomorrow – win it for Ash The Bash.

Long-serving captain and talismanic defender Ashley Thomas makes his final appearance in Wood colours, before moving to the United States to start a new life and career as a fitness trainer.

A special presentation will be made to Thomas on Saturday and a function in his honour will be held at the Meadowbank clubhouse after the game, which boss John Evans hopes will be end in victory.

He can see no better way to send Thomas off on his travels than with three points and is certain that every other member of the squad will be doing their best to win it for the defender known as The Bash.

"We will miss Ashley massively as he's been brilliant for us over a number of years since we brought him in from Chalford," Evans said.

"He was a bit of a rough diamond when he joined us but he's been a massive part of all that has happened at this club for so long now.

"He's moving to the California after meeting a girl out there and as a fitness instructor with an English accent I am sure he'll do really well!

"Ash is one of my best-ever signings and is a good wholehearted player and for our league he's a terrific centre-half and has been outstanding for us this season.

"He is also a great character in the dressing room and I am sure I won't need to say anything to the lads prior to the game to motivate them.

"They had a night out with Ash last weekend after our game at Bridgwater was called off last week and there will be a function after the game on Saturday to say goodbye – hopefully after a win."

After a frustrating Saturday off last week, Wood returned to action against Tiverton Town on Tuesday night and claimed a point in a topsy-turvy game that ended 2-2.

Wood led 2-0 going into the final ten minutes thanks to a Jon Coates penalty and a Luke Gullick strike before former England Youth international Michael Nardiello scored twice to earn Tivvy a point.

They welcome a Didcot Town side tomorrow looking to avenge a 1-0 defeat at the hands of the Railwaymen at the Loop Meadow Stadium two weeks ago.

"It could have gone either way on Tuesday night really as both sides had chances to win it, but having led 2-0 we're perhaps a bit disappointed not to have won it," Evans said.

"It will be different to play Didcot so quickly after playing them a few weeks ago, but we have that defeat fresh in our minds.

"We didn't play that well when we went down there so we'll be looking to do much better this time around."

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