Late Equaliser Dents Automatic Promotion Hopes!
Disappointing return from Norfolk Broads. Report by David Robinson.
Ashton were denied victory in East Anglia by a last minute equaliser from home substitute Jacek Zielonka having looked in control for most of the second half thanks to the returning Chris Baguley’s 25 yard free kick. The Robins arrived at the Walks stadium with Ashley Young deputising at right back on a sunny breezy day but found a bobbly playing surface awaiting them. 5 minutes into the action saw Lee Rick provide Dale Johnson with a clear run on the Linnets’ goal but he was muscled off the ball by Eze and a minute later Yong’s return ball into the Ashton area found Bridges just being denied from close range by Phillips.
Just before the half hour Spriggs’ high ball was dropped by Phillips leading to Frew’s effort being touched on to the post but the visitors hit back as Baguley won the ball in midfield and a fine pass from Gary Gee gave the opportunity to Leadbetter whose effort cannoned back off the crossbar.
After Baguley had fired Ashton ahead at the start of the second period, the visitors could have registered again as Johnson retrieved the ball close to the by line and played it back to Greg Pearson who almost registered his first goal for the club but saw his chip clip the bar. With Baguley’s confidence growing he almost caught out Street in the home goal with a trademark 40 yard effort before Frew, an aggressor all afternoon, was fortunate to only see yellow after an apparent elbow on Young.
The home side strove to get back into the contest and a long ball saw Frew’s flick on screwed wide by Mulready under challenge before Spriggs and Ramm combined for the latter’s cross to be put just wide by captain Bridges. Johnson then created a couple of chances, the first saw Pilkington’s shot swinging wide and sub Sherratt then missed a better chance, sidefooting his shot straight at Street. With time running out it seemed that Ashton were going to hold out for a vital win but Watson’s long cross into the box produced a punch by Phillips which saw Quigley fire in an effort which was cleared off the line but rebounded into the net off Zielonka for a rather fortunate leveller.
Team: Phillips, Young, Pearson, Wilson, Higgins, Gee, Rick, Baguley (Hill), Johnson, Pilkington (Sherratt) & Leadbetter (O’Connor).
SNU: Oates & Halford.