Stop Start Robins Return Empty Handed
Report by David Robinson
Ashton’s inconsistent form continued as they were narrowly beaten on the road in Derbyshire. With Greg Pearson returning to the defence, the Robins also had Harry Winter making his debut in midfield but the game was decided by a single goal after 19 minutes as Ben Algar’s left wing cross found Danny Holland totally unmarked to head home.
The visitors could have moved ahead on 7 minutes as Will Haining’s long throw saw Martin Pilkington stretching to keep his effort down and the ball rebounding back off the cross bar with Willis well beaten in the home goal. A misplaced pass by Pearson then led to McManus cutting inside but he couldn’t seriously test Phillips before Pilkington’s next effort spun out to Winter who was denied at the near post by Willis. The Gladiators could have moved further ahead as McManus reached the byline and his cross gave Sam Smith a chance which looked harder to miss – his effort coming back off the post from a yard out before Phillips pounced on the loose ball.
The final chance of the first period saw Dale Johnson set up Joel Melia who could have squared the ball to the unmarked Pilkington but chose to shoot and sliced his effort off target. Immediately after the restart, Coo’s ball into the area saw Johnson pulled back by a home defender with the referee waving play on and Ashton then forced a series of corners having penned the home side in their own half.
Substitute Purkiss then almost made a name for himself with an immediate impact for Matlock as Algar’s free kick dropped to him and he forced Phillips into a fine save, and shortly afterwards a high ball saw Smith play him into the clear for a weak left foot effort. Cavell Coo then squared the ball to Greg Pearson who struck a good effort into the keeper’s midriff and Ashton’s last effort saw Johnson win the ball in midfield and feed Chadwick who clipped the outside of the post. The hosts could have made the scoreline worse as a fine run down the touchline by Deacey saw Purkiss just denied by Phillips from the resulting cross.
Team: Phillips, Coo, Pearson, Gorton, Mason, Haining, Winter (Morning), Gee, Pilkington (Burns), Johnson, Melia (Chadwick). SNU: Sutherland, King