Robins fail to capitalise on bright start.
Report by David Robinson.
Ashton surrendered a 2 goal advantage as they were held to their first draw in the league since the beginning of October. Things were going according to plan as the hosts registered twice in the first ten minutes, the opener in the first minute as Kayde Coppin’s cross was controlled by Dale Johnson bringing a low save out of Cooper which left Martin Pilkington with a tap in.
On 8 minutes a loose pass in the visitors’ defence gave Pilkington a clear sight of goal which was cleared but within a minute Robbie Williams crashed a tremendous effort from 30 yards off the underside of the crossbar, any debate about whether the ball had actually crossed the line rendered irrelevant as Johnson followed up to net the rebound. With Ashton rampant at this point Scott Harries’ fine run saw his effort bring a good save out of Cooper but Marine were back in the argument on the quarter hour as Foley chipped the ball into the area and Goulding’s square pass left Owens with an open goal.
Greg Pearson’s overlapping cross then almost forced an own goal from Goulding before a lightning break saw Johnson & Coppin combine to feed Pilkington who checked onto his right foot but put his effort too close to the keeper. A long clearance then almost embarrassed Pearson into an own goal as his back pass was just cleared off the line by Phillips and the half ended with Owens firing narrowly wide after Langos had cut into the area.
The second period got off to a slowish start until Ashton almost extended their advantage as Johnson made an incredible run along the by-line only for Pilkington’s effort to be squeezed out for a corner but the Mariners then deservedly levelled matters up as Clair was put free down the left wing and had plenty of time to pick out the unmarked Owens who swept home the equaliser and at this point the underdogs were looking the likelier winners.
Ashton then threw everyone forward in an attempt to find the winner and a long ball into the area found Johnson’s header dropping for Pilkington to slice wide of the near post and they came agonisingly close when Pilkington’s cross reached Lee Rick who volleyed narrowly over the top. Langos was still a threat on the break and should have done better when played into space and then Pilkington made space but found his 20 yard effort swinging wide of the target.
Team: Phillips, Haslam, Pearson, Williams, Higgins, Young (Baguley), Harries (Rick), Gee, Pilkington, Johnson & Coppin (Mukendi).
SNU: Bennett & Halford.