Robins Fall Short in Salford
Match report by David Robinson
Ashton’s promotion push took a knock as they were beaten by fellow contenders Salford on a heavy surface at Moor Lane. This was always likely to be a tough task in the absence of Dale Johnson serving the last of his 3 match suspension with the Robins adopting a 4-5-1 formation and Paul Marshall drafted into midfield for his first start back at Ashton.
With 10 minutes played Jordan Hulme was released on the right wing for the Ammies and his dangerous cross needed Joe Connor to head clear but with another nine minutes elapsed the hosts made the breakthrough as Josh Hine skipped to the byline and saw his cross beat everyone before it was retrieved by Johnston who tricked his way past Cavell Coo and set up an unmissable chance for James Poole. Hine could have made things even worse as he beat Phillips to a long clearance and headed his effort goalwards, Connor needing to be on hand the make the clearance.
Ashton could have struck back ten minutes before the break as Adam Morning’s long free kick saw Jay Gorton’s header come back off the post with Jay Lynch beaten and Matty Chadwick then raced to the by line only to see his cross stabbed against the same post by Gary Gee. Ashton made the worst possible start to the second half as Luke Clark’s corner appeared to go straight into the visitor’s goal despite Phillips’ protests although the ball may have deflected in off Cavell Coo. With half an hour to go the Robins missed a golden opportunity to pull one back as Marshall’s through ball released Steven Mason but he clipped his effort just wide of goal but ten minutes later Ashton did reduce the deficit as Martin Pilkington won a free kick out wide and Morning’s delivery was knocked home for an own goal by Steve O’Halloran.
Salford could then have extended their advantage as Clark’s corner was headed back past the near post by Steve Howson and Hulme released fellow forward Hine who raced into the area and was just denied by Phillips who was again required to pull off a fine save shortly afterwards to deny the same player. Ben Wharton’s cross was then just too strong for Pilkington and Gorton’s header from Mason’s long throw dropped straight into Lynch’s arms but it was substitute Richie Allen who had the last word firstly bringing a fine save out of Phillips with a curling effort and then winning a penalty for handball which he duly converted himself.
Team: Phillips, Coo, Mason, Gorton, Connor, Lees, Marshall, Gee (Toner), Pilkington, Chadwick (Wharton) , Morning (Baguley). SNU: Haining, Melia.