Fan power drives the lads home
Ashton Make The Playoffs. Report by David Robinson. Picture Jez Sayle
Ashton secured a play off place for the third successive season with Martin Pilkington’s goal proving decisive on Sutton Coldfield’s plastic pitch at the Central Ground. With Chris Baguley injured in the warm up the Robins were forced into a late switch with Adam Morning drafted into the left side of midfield but it was the Royals making the livelier start as Edmunds reached the by line and from his cross Zak Lilley was just denied by Jay Gorton.
Pilkington then turned past 2 defenders and advanced into the area where his cross just missed Gary Gee at the back post and soon after Cavell Coo’s return pass into the box saw Pilkington’s shot on the turn deflected over. Just past the half hour Town had a chance of their own as a long ball saw Luke Rodgers get the better of Joe Connor with the loose ball dropping for Lilley to scuff his effort wide but just 2 minutes later the breakthrough arrived as Pilkington exchanged passes with James Dean before firing home from a narrow angle.
Just before the break a long ball down the middle saw Edmunds beat the offside trap before lobbing his effort over Phillips but also clearing the crossbar.
Ashton replaced Brownhill with Mason at the break and went on to dominate the second period which was largely one way traffic towards the home goal with the majority of the chances falling to James Dean. Morning’s run to the byline saw Dean’s shot blocked from the pull back and the forward then failed to control Paul Marshall’s through ball and Dean then collected a cross at the far post before seeing his effort forced wide by Jackson.
The Royals’ task was made even harder with 20 minutes left as a long ball saw keeper Gwilliams red carded for handling the ball outside the area with Danny O’Callaghan taking over in goal where he was forced into a low save from Will Haining’s free kick. Dean saw another couple of chances go wide of the target before a late scare for Ashton saw Goddard’s 25 yard free kick held by Phillips and all eyes now turn to Tuesday night and an eagerly anticipated clash with Salford City.
Team: Phillips, Coo, Brownhill (Mason), Gorton, Connor, Haining, Morning (Lees), Gee, Pilkington (Lindfield), Dean, Marshall. SNU: Frost, Chadwick