Draw No. 6
Honours Even in West Midlands. Report by David Robinson
Honours finished even in the West Midlands as Ashton secured their 6th league draw of the season courtesy of Phil Marsh’s first goal for the club on the quarter hour. Marsh had replaced Martin Pilkington in the starting line up and volleyed home Richard Bennett’s header after a free kick was returned towards the home penalty area. Before the first half had been completed Marsh picked up an injury and had to be replaced by Pilkington.
Prior to the opening goal captain Billingham had cut inside from the right wing but seen his cross drift past the far post and the same player then controlled a long diagonal pass but knocked the ball too close to Phillips. Once again Billingham was in the action with 18 minutes played as he beat the offside trap and attempted to round Phillips but was foiled by Ashton’s custodian.
The Glassboys’ best effort to date came after Phillips had fisted out a corner which led to a fine return effort from Canavan being held under the crossbar. Haynes then made a good run to the by line but Hales’ header had insufficient power to trouble Phillips and then Hales’ cross was cleared from near the goal line by Coo as the pressure from the home side began to grow.
The hosts made a change at the start of the second period and were immediately forced into another substitution when Billingham picked up a serious looking injury after colliding with Phillips – fortunately he was helped off the pitch rather than needing the requested stretcher. Cavell Coo then won the ball in midfield allowing Richard Bennett to try a speculative effort from 30 yards which Coleman just clawed away with some difficulty. At the other end a free kick saw a clearing header from Bennett hit just too high by substitute Till.
With the home side struggling to make much impact the equaliser came somewhat out of the blue as a long clearance by Coleman fell to Hales who turned past Haslam and fired home from 25 yards. A good run from Hales then took him past Higgins to the dead ball line before Smikle was crowded out at the far post and with 5 minutes remaining Brad Robinson’s forward pass found Pilkington who swerving effort was punched away for a corner by Coleman.
Team: Phillips, Coo, Haslam, Pearson, Higgins, Young, Baguley (Robinson), Gee, Marsh (Pilkington), Bennett (Chadwick) & Coppin.
SNU: Halford & Cook.