A Point On The Road
Another draw despite debut goal. Report by David Robinson.
Ashton United repeated last season’s 1-1 draw with the team who had finished one place below them, Skelmersdale United at the College Stadium. With Saul Henderson making his debut up front Ashton adopted a different formation from the home defeat to Stamford which saw Richard Bennett moving out to the left wing and Ashley Young drop to the bench.
Skelmersdale were first on to the attack as Thompson got free down the right past Greg Pearson but saw his cross cut out by Jack Higgins. Ashton could have opened their account on 21 minutes when Phillips quick clearance bounced straight through to Chadwick who side footed a weak effort straight at Fearon. Skelmersdale themselves thought they had moved ahead as a corner reached Bodie whose header was disallowed for a foul on Phillips. Shortly afterwards it was Phillips to the rescue as a ball inside to Astbury saw him unleash a deflected shot which caught the keeper unsighted requiring an improvised save with his legs.
Chris Baguley then hit a deep corner which saw Garry Gee climbing highest and as the ball dropped to Henderson he dragged his effort into the side netting. The visitors were convinced they had taken the lead as Baguley’s sublime left foot chip came back off the crossbar for Bennett to head home only to be flagged offside. The influential Baguley then forced Fearon into a good low save before at the other end Strickland scuffed an effort across the area with penalty appeals waved away as Pearson eased Mitchley off the ball.
Within 10 minutes of the restart Higgins had helped master the breakthrough as his fine pass out to the right wing was fired across goal first time by Chadwick for Henderson to register a debut goal. Lee Rick then put Baguley himself in on the right wing with his cross shot just evading substitute Pilkington. With the hosts struggling to find a way back into the game it came as something of a surprise when they were thrown a lifeline as Ince’s forward pass found full back Wisdom going down under challenge from Coo inside the area, Mitchley confidently converting from the spot. Things could have got even worse for Ashton in the last couple of minutes as Bodie’s free kick was headed wide from the penalty spot by Mitchley who then found himself in space with only Phillips to beat but was denied by a fine save.
Team: Phillips, Coo, Pearson, Gorton, Higgins, Gee, Chadwick (Coppin), Rick, Henderson (Pilkington), Baguley (Young) & Bennett.
SNU: Roberts-Nurse & Robinson.