Non-Stop Robins Fly Past Dabbers!
Report by David Robinson.
Ashton United were rewarded for their efforts in getting the game played as they repeated their 3-1 victory from October over former manager Danny Johnson. A monumental effort by a dedicated band of supporters and volunteers including Joint-Managers, Steve Halford and Paul Phillips enabled the game to be played when many other fixtures fell foul of the weather.
On a predictably sticky surface both sides struggled to make inroads and little was seen by way of chances in the opening quarter hour. The visitors were first to register an effort as Greg Pearson’s misplaced backpass conceded a corner and Iain Howard’s corner was headed over from near the penalty spot by Mark Winslade and within a minute they had taken the lead as Andy White suddenly burst into the area and saw his cross touched home from close range by Winslade.
Ashton were then forced into a substitution as Lee Rick picked up a facial injury and was replaced by Kevin Leadbetter who was then well picked out by Ashley Young but was just denied at the last by White. Young was then involved again as Ashton fashioned the equaliser when he found Dale Johnson and his pullback saw Leadbetter clearly fouled in the area – Gary Gee firing home the Robins’ first penalty of the season in their 29th league game. Just before the break a fine pass picked out Cliff Moyo’s run and his square pass saw Harry Clayton’s effort easily held by Paul Phillips. There was still time before the interval for the hosts to move ahead as a scramble in the area saw an attempted clearance by Matt Bailey rebound off Pearson leaving Dale Johnson to steer the ball home.
The second period had just got under way when a loose header in the Dabbers’ penalty area saw Martin Pilkington volley over the top and Leadbetter’s superb pass then picked out the same player who did all the hard work and rounded keeper Smith before finding the side netting. Strike partner Johnson then provided a sublime turn in the box from Sam Wilson’s pass but saw his effort deflected over the bar. With an hour elapsed the home side made the points safe as Gary Gee worked the ball across from the byline and Johnson teed up Pilkington to fire home.
A rare attack from the visitors then saw the ball break to sub Jordan Johnson who curled his effort well wide before Kayde Coppin cut inside and saw Martin Hill head his cross straight into the keeper’s arms.
Steve Halford (AU Joint-Manager): A deserved win – both teams battled well on a difficult surface and thought Ashton conceded a stupid goal. Thinks AU are as good as anyone going forward and they have 17 cup finals left this season.
Danny Johnson (NT Manager): Difficult to play football on this type of playing surface, confident that NT will avoid relegation and this game didn’t show them in their true light.
Ashton United: Phillips, Wilson, Pearson, Gorton, Higgins, Young, Rick, (Leadbetter 29), Gee, Johnson, Pilkington (Hill 78) & Coppin (Yarwood 89).
SNU: Haslam & Robinson.