Who wants excitement? Hurst Cross here we come.
Report by David Robinson
An all-action encounter saw 8 goals shared at Hurst Cross as Ashton recovered from 2 goals down at half time only for the visitors to level matters up again. With a hail shower greeting the players Ben Wharton made his full debut for the home side but it was the Gladiators who made the better start and deservedly moved ahead on 10 minutes as a clearance fell to Nicolas Travis who fired in a low effort which forced Phillips into a decent save with Niall McManus on hand to net the rebound. A throw in then led to Wilson’s snapshot being scrambled away by Phillips and Gascoigne’s shot on the turn was just blocked by Steven Mason as Ashton struggled to get a foothold in the game.
Five minutes before the interval Town won a series of corners all accurately delivered by Laurie Wilson and the final one appeared to go straight into the Ashton net without anyone getting a touch. Within 5 minutes of the restart the Robins were level as Martin Pilkington won the ball in midfield and spread it wide to Adam Morning who beat Willis as his near post and just 2 minutes later Pilkington turned scorer heading home Ben McKenna’s cross after a great run down the left wing. Just before the hour Morning was back in the action as he cut inside 2 defenders before firing low into the corner and the winger then turned provider with a ball over the top which found Pilkington confidently converting the fourth.
To the visitors’ credit they then came back into the game with the dangerous McManus getting free down the left wing and seeing his cross converted by substitute Joel Purkiss and the same player then restored parity with a superb volleyed finish from Michael Harcourt’s long free kick into the area. With both teams still looking for the winner an inside pass from Mason picked out Gary Gee’s run but he was well off target from 25 yards and Chris Baguley’s ball then saw Pilkington fouled on the edge of the area, although the referee could have played advantage with Johnson well placed, the resulting free kick being deflected out for a corner from which Joe Connor headed narrowly wide.
Team; Phillips, Frost, Mason, Gorton, Connor, Lees, McKenna (Baguley), Gee, Pilkington, Wharton (Johnson), Morning (Toner). SNU: Haining, Mappin-Walter