Spartans Put To The Sword
Ashton too strong for lacklustre Blyth. Report by Dave Robinson.
Ashton scored their first victory of the season with a fluent performance against their visitors from the North East. Despite showing four changes from Saturday’s game the Robins ran out convincing victors against a disappointing Spartans outfit who had finished last season in 8th place.
After Chris Baguley had put a free kick straight into the wall following a foul on Bennett, a fine run by Connor Roberts-Nurse set up Bennett for a cross which was held by Jefferies. Just before the quarter hour a fine run by Richard Bennett saw his cross helped on by Hazel forcing Watson to put through his own goal for the opener. Blyth came close to levelling as a volleyed pass by Sayer put Maguire through on Phillips who saved with his left leg. Back at the other end a fine move saw Baguley pick out Martin Hill whose cross was just gathered before Hazel could connect.
Bennett, having another influential match, then played a 1-2 with Hazel and found the side netting with the keeper beaten but he wasn’t to be denied for long as a through ball found him lobbing his effort against the bar and reacting first to net the rebound. On the stroke of the interval a tremendous run from left back by Roberts-Nurse saw him make space for a right foot effort which Jefferies pushed away.
Ashton were almost back on the score sheet at the start of the second half as a corner returned across the area just evaded Baguley and Lee Rick’s cross was glanced just wide of the far post by Bennett. The visitors went close as Parker met Maguire’s corner but couldn’t keep his header down and Maguire himself then failed to get any power behind his header when well placed.
The importance of this miss was underlined as Ashton moved back onto the attack as substitute Coppin made a fine run down the right wing and saw his cross knocked home by Middleton for the second own goal of the evening. There was still time for a great ball by Bennett to set Robinson free with Coo joining the attack and just being foiled as his effort was cleared off the line. The last word almost fell to Baguley as his cheeky free kick landed on the roof of the net.
Team: Phillips, Coo, Roberts-Nurse, Gorton, Higgins, Rick, Baguley, Gee (Young), Hazel (Robinson), Bennett & Hill (Coppin).
SNU: Chadwick & Pilkington.