Stamford's Smash & Grab
A late penalty scuppers shot shy Robins. Report by Dave Robinson
Surprise league leaders Stamford maintained their position at the top of the division with a narrow victory at Hurst Cross courtesy of a penalty 5 minutes from time. The kick was awarded after leading scorer Ryan Robbins was put clear down the left wing by Nabil Shariff and drew a foul from Ashton captain Jay Gorton – Robbins getting up to convert the penalty himself. The same incident saw Ashton joint manager Paul Phillips dismissed for tangling with Shawn Richards after the penalty had been converted – Gary Gee taking over between the sticks.
The preceding 85 minutes had seen very few shots on target from either side, Stamford being the first side to threaten after 5 minutes as a long clearance from Fox saw Robbins with a clear run on goal denied by Phillips who was quickly off his line. Kayde Coppin then cut inside for Ashton before sending a swinging effort wide of the far post and a fine long pass from Higgins then found Garry Gee miscuing his effort on the turn. Almost on the half hour a great combination between Coppin and Martin Pilkington saw Richard Bennett just denied by Knight’s foot.
The visitors came closest to breaking the deadlock on 54 minutes as Robbins turned inside Greg Pearson before hammering in a left foot effort which brought the best out of Phillips before a short corner reached Ashley Young who sent a curling effort wide. The home side’s best effort came following a quick break by Matty Chadwick which led to Martin Pilkington’s cross being fired into the side netting by Chris Baguley.
At the other end substitute Lawlor’s corner was glanced wide of the far post by Cameron Powell before a through ball saw Robbins round Phillips before he was crowded out by Gorton and just as the game seemed to be heading for a stalemate the visitors were awarded their spot kick. Ashton now have much food for thought as the start to the season has not gone as expected and they were beaten again by one of their bogey teams from last season with a tough away game at Skelmersdale next on the agenda.
Team: Phillips, Coo, Pearson, Gorton, Higgins, Young, Robinson (Chadwick), Gee, Bennett (Baguley), Pilkington & Coppin (Rick).
SNU: Hazel & Halford.