Robins Hop Into Play Off Final
Report by David Robinson
Ashton stand just 90 minutes away from the Conference North after a dramatic last gasp win at Gigg Lane. The Robins chose to leave leading scorer Martin Pilkington on the bench and adopted a 4-5-1 formation just as they had in the league match 8 days earlier. The action got off to a cagey start and Ashley Young was first to try his luck as he dragged a left foot effort wide of goal.
A great move saw Woolfenden pick up Norton’s back heel with his effort well held by Phillips before Coppin misplaced his back header allowing Brownhill to find the side netting. A long throw in then fell to Aaron Chalmers whose effort was blocked before his header from Coppin’s cross dropped into the arms of Carnell. Dale Johnson then controlled a long ball superbly before his effort was also blocked and the half ended with Neville hooking an effort over the top from just outside the area.
With the hour mark approaching FC moved ahead in somewhat controversial circumstances as Greaves ran past several challenges before being crowded out on the edge of the area – Mr Nield awarding what looked a harsh penalty which Wright converted confidently. As Ashton attempted to strike back Lynch picked out substitute Pilkington who was just denied from a tight angle and Coppin beat his man and fired in an effort which was only denied by a last gasp clearance from Davies. With 10 minutes left on the clock the Rebels missed a glorious chance to score again as Daniels beat the offside trap and crossed to the far post where the waiting Mulholland missed an open goal, putting his sidefoot effort against the crossbar with Woolfenden being denied from the follow up.
The home side were made to pay entering injury time as a ball forward by Chris Baguley was brought down by Johnson who slid his effort underneath Carnell with just enough pace to cross the line. FC had made all 3 substitutions by this point and Ashton were forced to replace Johnson as the start of extra time after a challenge from behind. Baguley volleyed over from a great position as Neville misplaced his header and Jay Gorton made a vital block from Mulholland’s cross before Ashton won 2 consecutive corners – the second of which was headed down by Young and touched home from close range by Higgins to send the sizeable contingent from Ashton into raptures with the final against AFC Fylde still to come.
Team: Phillips, Lynch, Coo, Gorton, Higgins, Young, Chalmers (Pilkington), Gee, Johnson (Rick), Coppin, Chadwick (Baguley). SNU: Pearson, Halford.