That's It Folks
Penalty Shoot Out Punishes Shot Shy Robins. Report by David Robinson
Ashton were denied a second successive appearance in the play off final by local rivals Curzon after a nerve shredding evening at Hurst Cross. With 1,049 packed into the old ground it was the hosts who started in determined fashion as Ashley Young forced Burton into a low save after 3 minutes and just 5 minutes later a free kick awarded for a foul by Shaw against Deegan was curled home by Chris Baguley.
Curzon were forced to replace centre forward Niall Cummins and then came close as Hunt’s header at the back post from Brown’s corner just cleared the crossbar. The Nash fashioned another chance just past the half hour as a corner was pulled back by Ryan Brooke teeing up Shaw who was well off target. At the start of the second period Brown’s through ball saw Guest denied by Phillips speeding off his line and Dale Johnson’s cross then reached Deegan at the back post but his return ball evaded everyone.Baguley then could have embarrassed Burton from near the halfway line but saw his effort drift wide before Guest headed Woodford’s cross over the top for Curzon.
With 20 minutes remaining the visitors wasted a glorious chance to level as Brooke’s cross from the by line found Stott – who had only just entered the action – skying his effort over the bar. Curzon came closer still as Walker’s free kick from wide right deflected off Young and against the post but the Robins could have made the game much safer as a lightning break saw Johnson pick out Gary Gee who put Baguley in on Burton but saw a weak effort saved low down – Baguley sustaining a suspected broken ankle and having to be replaced.
This turned out to be a potential turning point as the action switched immediately to the other end and Brooke fired home into the bottom corner from 20 yards with Phillips unmoved.
The temperature then started to rise and a clash between Jay Gorton and Brooke saw both players dismissed on the advice of the fourth official.
In extra time Walker exchanged passes and won a free kick after Young fouled him right on the edge of the area, Walker’s kick falling to Rowney who was denied from point blank range by Phillips. There could still have been time for a dramatic conclusion as fine control by Johnson allowed him to play in Max Harrop who set up substitute Leadbetter, his shot deflecting up off Burton and as time stood still, the ball dropped past the post.
The lottery of the penalty shootout saw Hunt miss first for Curzon but subsequent misses from Young and Leadbetter saw Curzon through to face Ilkeston in the final.
Team: Phillips, Mason, Wilson, Gorton, Higgins, Young, Deegan (Harrop), Gee, Johnson, Pilkington, (Coppin) Baguley (Leadbetter). SNU: Pearson, Rick.