Robins on top. Report by David Robinson
Ashton got the better of their local rivals in the Tameside Derby with an ultimately straightforward victory at Hurst Cross in a game sponsored by director Andrew Evans. With Dale Johnson suspended for the Robins, the visitors were also missing Scott Spencer for similar reasons but it was the Tigers who were the first to threaten on the quarter hour as the ball was spread wide to Laurie Bell who fired a low cross right across the Ashton area.
3 minutes later a long cross from Cavell Coo reached Adam Morning at the far post and as he stepped past Andreas Bianga the full back brought him down for a penalty which Gary Gee converted easily and Ashton could have followed up immediately but Eddie Toner’s return pass just failed to reach Matty Chadwick. The winger then made a great run in from the right wing before clearing the crossbar comfortably and a quick kick out by Phillips released Morning whose cross was just too far ahead of Martin Pilkington.
The visitors’ manager Gary Lowe was sent from the dugout at half time but that didn’t stop his team coming the closest they had so far as a ball was fired into the area and captain Andrew Pearson had to be denied at close range by Paul Phillips. Pilkington then tricked his way to the by line but saw his cross deflected wide off Morning before Mark Lees, playing against his old team, was tripped 25 yards out and Toner saw his free kick deflected just over the top.
The game then went through a scrappy spell after Holmes’s flick had almost released Reece Gray into the area but the hosts were able to move further ahead on 72 minutes as Stephen Mason won the ball and set leading scorer Martin Pilkington free for an easy finish past Sam Vince. Jay Gorton had a shot blocked back to Chadwick who was just denied at the near post by Vince’s foot but four minutes from time Chadwick was picked out by Paul Marshall’s long pass and was untroubled to fire home the third goal and the winger could have made the score line even more emphatic but dragged his effort wide after being released by Ben Wharton.
Team: Phillips, Coo, Mason, Gorton, Connor, Lees, Chadwick, Gee, Pilkington (King), Toner (Wharton), Morning (Marshall). SNU: Baguley, Haining.