Back To Winning Ways!
Robins take four points off league leaders. Report by David Robinson.
Ashton beat Premier league leaders Skelmersdale with a fine display at Hurst Cross which deservedly gathered all 3 points. Showing several changes from the previous game and missing the injured Lee Rick, Ashton gave a debut to Robbie Williams, a recent capture from Conference North side Barrow. Ashton went straight on to the attack and Haslam’s cross from the right wing saw Bennett’s first time header palmed away by Fearon but within 10 minutes the hosts were ahead as a defence splitting pass from Chris Baguley found Martin Pilkington running into the area for a confident finish for his first goal since August.
Ashley Young’s pass then had too much pace for Bennett before a corner for Skelmersdale led to Burton’s effort being blocked before the same player broke into the area needing Jay Gorton to come across to block. Another fine pass from Baguley saw Pilkington stopped by a handball from Bodie with Baguley himself firing a low free kick wide but Ashton almost extended their advantage on the half hour as Williams won the ball in midfield and picked out Pilkington who hammered an effort just too high. A comedy of errors in the home defence saw Phillips robbed by McCarthy before the danger was cleared and Bennett then won a header which dropped for Pilkington to turn well before firing off target.
Ashton continued to control the game after the break and a good run by Pilkington saw the ball break back to Gary Gee who was well off target before Thompson put in a decent cross from which Burton got in Kirkbride’s way resulting in a wayward header. A quick break by Bennett then saw him pick out substitute Phil Marsh who couldn’t get enough power into his left foot attempt after which Marsh appeared to be flattened from Roberts-Nurse’ cross with the referee ignoring the third decent shout for a penalty of the evening.
With time running out McCarthy was dismissed for the visitors after a late challenge on Young and then Bennett played a fine ball into the box which was controlled by Marsh for Robinson to hit – Fearon in goal getting lucky doing just enough to deflect the ball over the bar. The final chance saw Roberts-Nurse crowded out from a long pass before Robinson picked up the loose ball but steered his effort wide of goal.
Team: Phillips, Haslam, Williams, Gorton, Higgins, Young, Coppin (Roberts-Nurse), Gee, Pilkington (Marsh), Bennett & Baguley (Robinson).
SNU: Halford & Aspin.