Robins Fly Past Bucks!
Three points blow Ashton's way at breezy Silverlands. Report by David Robinson.
Ashton duly avenged their FA Trophy defeat in November with victory at Buxton’s Silverlands stadium. The altitude of the venue was obvious in the prevailing conditions which saw the visitors playing up the slope and also against a blustery wind in the first half.
They were forced into a change even before kick off as full back Mark Haslam felt an injury during the kick in and was replaced by Darcy O’Connor for his full debut. With the wind behind, Jameson’s goal kick bounced straight through to Hardy after 2 minutes but he lifted his effort too high and it was the visitors who struck first on 18 minutes as practically with their first attack a quick break saw Dale Johnson release Martin Pilkington and as he cut back inside the penalty area Alex Byrne brought him down to provide Ashton with their fourth penalty in the last 7 matches – this one confidently despatched as Gary Gee sent Jameson the wrong way.
Jack Higgins was penalised for a foul on Barraclough 25 yards out – Wilson striking the free kick straight into the wall but shortly afterwards another free kick from a similar area taken by Byrne was touched home by Hardy, the wind perhaps unsurprisingly getting an assist. The Robins regained the lead 3 minutes before the break as Leadbetter exchanged passes with Pilkington from a corner and made room for a shot which went straight into the goal with Jameson possibly unsighted.
United were now playing with the wind at their backs and a great reverse pass from Leadbetter picked out Pilkington who was denied from a tight angle by the home keeper before Leadbetter picked up a loose pass in midfield and crossed just too high for Pilkington. Midway through the half Ashton registered again as a perfectly judged forward pass from Gee – not easy in the conditions – set Johnson free to lob home the third goal. Nelthorpe then had an effort blocked for the Bucks, the ball spinning to Taylor who stepped inside before missing the near post.
With Ashton looking comfortable it came as something of a surprise when the hosts reduced the deficit on 86 minutes as a ball over the top put Hardy in on Phillips for a neat finish but Ashton were able to play out the remaining time to move up to second in the table.
Team: Phillips, O’Connor, Pearson, Wilson, Higgins, Young, Leadbetter (Robinson), Gee, Johnson, Pilkington (Hill) & Oates (Rick).
SNU: Sherratt & Halford.