End to end but no goals. Report by David Robinson
Two teams who had both played out stalemates on the opening day again failed to trouble the scorers at the Marine Travel Arena. Ashton switched to a 4-5-1 formation with striker Aaron Burns back at the club and Joel Melia starting for the first time on the left wing and it was Burns who registered the first effort firing too high from Gary Gee’s pass.
Shortly afterwards Adam Morning’s interception allowed him to sprint into the home area and force Wainwright to slice the cross over his own bar and it was the same player who cleared Sam Wilson’s header from the resulting corner. Kyle Jacobs then won the ball and his cross reached Burns who switched on to his right foot but fired narrowly wide as Ashton laid early siege to the home goal. Midway through the half Chris Baguley’s volley from Morning’s cross was blocked by Wainwright and Morning again made progress into the box only being denied by Nicholas’ sliding challenge. The Mariners could have hit back as Gee’s underhit back pass saw Owens round Phillips but unable to direct his effort on target.
2 passes at the start of the second half took Ashton from one penalty area to the other, Phillips clearance being helped on by Morning only for Burns to find the side netting before a long diagonal pass picked out picked out Menagh at the other end and he squeezed his effort past Phillips but Kyle Jacobs was on hand to clear. Subsitute Martin Pilkington then started to have an influence on the proceedings, firstly as his cross was just cut out by keeper O’Connell after Jacobs had intercepted well and then the striker caught a loose ball perfectly on the volley from 25 yards only to see the ball come back off the inside of the post.
Gee then fouled Marine’s most effective striker Menagh on the edge of the area, the same player bringing a fine save out of Phillips from the dead ball with the keeper also on hand to collect Nicholas’s follow up. Pilkington then headed Melia’s cross wide after Johnson had set the winger up and the final chance dropped to Baguley whose chip drifted narrowly wide.
Team: Phillips, Jacobs (Coo), Mason, Wilson, Priestly, Connor, Baguley, Gee, Burns (Johnson), Melia, Morning (Pilkington) SNU: Sutherland, Bove.