Pre season favourites AFC Fylde were given an early reality check that things aren’t going to be as straightforward this season as they aim for back to back promotions as a late Ben Deegan goal grabbed all three points for the Robins.
As a result, Ashton lie top of the table after two games, although early indications in this game weren’t good as the home side began like a whirlwind.
After having the ball in the net after just four minutes ruled out for offside, the home side were rewarded soon after for their quick closing down as Alex Frost’s back pass fell at an awkward height for Terry Smith, whose attempted clearance was charged down by James Dean, who had the simplest of tap ins to open the scoring.
Ashton were their own worst enemy in the early stages as they gave away possession far too cheaply as Fylde utilised the pace of right winger Joe Booth, but the Ashton defence held firm.
When Ashton finally got a foothold in the game, they looked equally as dangerous in attack with both wingers, Astley Mulholland and Mark Peers showing the Coasters a clean pair of heels.
First chance came following a Peers corner that Craig Robinson headed over and then another corner saw Chris Lynch
head into the side netting with a near post header.
Fylde continued to look threatening, an early cross from Booth saw Dean fire wide at the near post and then Mike Barnes pounced on a loose ball, his shot tipped around the post by Smith.
The resulting corner saw Deegan head clear off the line.
Ashton almost equalised with a chance out of nothing, a quick break saw Peers produce a fine cross that Matty Barlow headed over Ben Hinchliffe, only for the ball to hit the bar and Fylde were able to clear their lines.
Hinchliffe’s next involvement led indirectly to the Ashton equaliser as a shot from a tight angle from Mulholland ought to have been easily held by the keeper, but he fumbled the ball at the expense of a corner.
Fylde struggled to clear their lines and when Mulholland sent in a cross, Dean was adjudged to have handled the ball by the referee and Peers sent the keeper the wrong way to level the scores from the resulting penalty.
The end of a lively first half saw the woodwork hit again, this time Barnes worked himself into a good position but his blistering shot cannoned back off the bar with Smith a bystander.
Early in the second half a cross come shot from Mulholland was held on the line by Hinchliffe, but it was Fylde that still posed more of a goal threat once again and the Ashton upright was hit by Booth ten minutes in.
Dean twice had chances to give the Lancashire side the lead, but didn’t force Smith into a save.
Fylde appeared to be running out of ideas at breaking down a resolute Ashton defence and when both Aaron Burns and Matty Kosylo joined the action in place of Barlow and Mulholland, the Robins looked the more potent up front.
Peers shot wide from a free kick and then Kosylo and Burns worked well to create a chance that the latter shot at Hinchliffe.
Kosylo then headed over from a pinpoint centre by Peers as Ashton sensed a possible three points were there for the taking, and take them they did.
With three minutes left on the clock, Burns won possession just inside the Fylde half, a quick interchange of passes with Kosylo and Burns raced down the right before producing a fine cross that Deegan (pictured) headed firmly into the roof of the net, his third goal in two games.
Fylde pushed forward for an equaliser, won a couple of free kicks on the edge of the area but couldn’t breach the Ashton defence a second time.
Five minutes into stoppage time Hinchliffe raced upfield to add his height to a corner that went woefully out of play on the opposite side of the pitch and that was it, Ashton had produced a stunning result to set them up nicely for a trip to Eastwood on Saturday.
Ashton: Smith, Frost, Caldecott, Beattie, Robinson, Lynch, Mulholland (Kosylo 76) Burke, Barlow (Burns 60), Deegan, Peers (Baguley 90), subs not used J Rose and Harrop.
Ashtonutd.com Man of the Match: Ben Deegan