Robins nudge closer to a playoff place. Report by David Robinson
Ashton repeated last season’s victory in the Midlands with a goal at the start of each half proving too good for the Pics at Dales Lane. With Alex Frost absent Stephen Mason moved back into the centre of the Robins’ defence but it was the hosts with the first chance as a corner saw Kris Taylor failing to turn Jack Duggan’s effort goalwards.
Within 5 minutes of the start Ashton won a corner following which Liam Brownhill drew a foul on the edge of the area and it was his free kick which was guided in sweetly on the volley by James Dean. Brownhill then played a square pass to Gary Gee who was denied by a tremendous block from Christophorou and Paul Marshall’s flick into the area was just too far ahead of Gee as Ashton controlled the play on a very difficult surface.
A right wing corner from Taylor was then cleared from near the goal line and from a second delivery Josh McKenzie made insufficient contact with his header, in between times Ashton won a somewhat controversial corner as Preston was deemed to have carried the ball out, Jay Gorton eventually hooking the ball wide of goal.
Ashton started the second period just as they had the first and Will Haining’s ball into the area found Martin Pilkington (pictured) turning sharply on the penalty spot before burying his left foot effort past Preston. Rushall then almost hit back immediately as Brown attempted to collect McKenzie’s flick into the area but was crowded out by Mason amidst strong appeals for a penalty and shortly afterwards a speculative attempt by Mitchell Tolley saw Phillips’ attempted tip over rebound off the crossbar with the alert Gorton on hand to clear.
The hosts were playing their third game in the space of 6 days which began to show as substitute Benbow scuffed a shot well wide from 25 yards and Cavell Coo then spread the ball wide to Dean whose cross was just too far ahead of the stretching Pilkington. Benbow then had a couple of decent efforts, flicking a header wide from Taylor’s cross and glancing Fox’s delivery just too high but Ashton were able to comfortably hold on to their lead.
Team: Phillips, Coo, Brownhill, Gorton, Mason, Haining (Morning), Marshall, Gee, Pilkington (Lindfield), Dean, Lees. SNU: Baguley, Halford, Chadwick