Canaries Get The Bird!
Robins bounce back to form. Report by David Robinson.
Ashton got their revenge on the team that did the double on them last season courtesy of a hat trick from Martin Pilkington. With Scott Harries making his debut on the right wing it was he who created the opener after a good run into the area saw Castle in the visiting goal spill his weak effort allowing Pilkington to touch home the opening goal after 25 minutes. Prior to this a fine build up had seen Kayde Coppin release Pilkington down the left wing and his cross led to Richard Bennett teeing up Ashley Young to narrowly miss the angle of post and bar.
The visitors could have moved into the lead on 18 minutes as a corner was returned into the area by Stevenson and Nisevic’s touch beat Phillips but Robbie Williams was on hand to clear the danger. With half time approaching a long clearance by Ashley Young saw Pilkington brought down by Lower who as last man was somewhat surprisingly only yellow carded.
Ashton continued to enjoy the majority of the possession but were pegged back after the interval as Nigel Julien released substitute Connor Gudger whose cross was neatly touched home by Anthony Carney, and just before the hour Barwell could have moved ahead as Robbie Williams brought down Tomkinson and Jon Stevenson put a 25 yard free kick against the crossbar with Phillips well beaten.
The small margins on which games can be decided was ably demonstrated as Ashton heeded the warning and raced to the other end where Harries again released Pilkington to fire home his second goal. Pilkington then made a fine run to the by line and saw his pullback fired straight at Castle by Brad Robinson before Ashley Young landed a corner on top of the crossbar. Another great run by Pilkington almost produced a third goal as his cross almost forced Nisevic into conceding an own goal at the near post but the hat trick was complete on 81 minutes as he beat the offside trap before finishing confidently.
Pilkington’s growing confidence was evident as substitute Mukendi won a header leading to Pilkington testing Castle from fully 30 yards and there was still time for Gudger to head Towers’ cross against the bar before Ashton themselves hit the post courtesy of substitute Brad Robinson.
Team: Phillips, Roberts-Nurse, Pearson, Williams, Higgins, Young, Harries (Robinson), Baguley (Gee), Bennett (Mukendi), Pilkington & Coppin.
SNU: Rick & Shaw.