Thumbs Down For Gladiators!
Ashton back to winning ways. Report by David Robinson.
A nervy performance by Ashton United eventually saw them garner all 3 points against their plucky visitors from Derbyshire courtesy of an own goal and a late strike from Martin Pilkington. Michael Oates was first to threaten for the hosts but lobbed his effort too high after getting on the wrong side of a defender and Oates then won a free kick which Chris Baguley forced Kennedy to tip over in the visitors’ goal. Debutant Stephen Mason was booked shortly afterwards for a late challenge on Town midfielder Meade but otherwise completed an impressive 90 minutes.
The Gladiators could have struck on the break as a sweeping move saw Kahn released from inside his own half before he placed his effort past Phillips but also wide of the post and the Robins then made the breakthrough 3 minutes before the interval as Baguley’s corner was sliced into his own net by the unfortunate Julian Banton.
Into the second half and Mason’s throw in saw Dale Johnson’s flick on blazed wastefully over by Martin Hill before the same two players combined before Hill’s effort was blocked. A fine run by Greg Pearson then saw Baguley just fail to convert at the near post but the visitors were starting to grow in confidence against their lacklustre opponents with the pendulum of momentum clearly swinging in their favour and after Cribley’s high ball had been volleyed straight at Phillips by unmarked substitute McManus, McDonagh almost equalised racing onto Banton’s pass and closing in on goal only to see his effort clip the near post and run across the goal line before being cleared to safety.
A quick break by Ashton then saw Johnson play in substitute Brad Robinson whose cross was miscontrolled by Baguley when unmarked in the area and another good run by Robinson ended with Ashley Young firing well over. The hosts made the points safe right at the end as Brad Robinson played Dale Johnson into the area and his cross was squeezed home by Pilkington just before he made contact with keeper Jon Kennedy – the referee happy that no infringement had occurred.
Team: Phillips, Mason, Pearson, Wilson, Higgins, Young, Hill (Robinson), Gee, Johnson, Baguley (Rick) & Oates (Pilkington).
SNU: O’Connor & Sherratt.