On First Showing!
Opening Pre-Season Friendly Oils The Legs.
Report by David Robinson.
Ashton opened their season with a narrow victory over their hosts from the North West Counties Premier Division. Despite starting with only three players who appeared in the play-off final, the visitors made a fine start and were ahead within the first few minutes as a corner was cleared to Pratt who saw his effort deflected out for another corner, which resulted in a penalty for handball, which was confidently despatched by Lee Rick.
Ashfaq then produced an acrobatic effort on the turn for the home side, but cleared the crossbar comfortably before Eaves picked up a knockdown and fired just off target from 20 yards. The same player then brought the hosts level as he collected a through ball and saw his deflected effort loop over Phillips, but Ashton regained the lead just on halftime as a loose square pass allowed Ahmadi to outpace the defence and finish confidently.
After the interval Coo brought a good save out of the home keeper from a short corner before Eaves second strike again brought Bacup and Rossendale level, as another forward pass was followed by a confident finish past Ashley's near post, who had taken over as Ashton’s custodian.
With the game pretty much in the balance Tuaniebe made the decisive contribution for Ashton as he curled home a fine free kick from just outside the area to set Ashton off to a winning start.
Team: Phillips, Notemann, Hewitt, Masirika, Higgins, Walsh, Robinson, Rick, Ahmadi, Bennett, Pratt, Cliffe, Ashley, Coo, Tuaniebe, Vincent, Steadman, Thomas & Hill.