Gingerbreads Have Their Cake And Eat ......
Report by David Robinson
Ashton’s winning run was brought to an end in Lincolnshire as the hosts extended their own unbeaten run to 13 matches at the Meres Stadium. The Robins were using their sixth regular keeper of the season in giving a debut to Luke Pilling and welcomed back Jack Dyche on loan from Scunthorpe.
Grantham could have moved ahead in the very first minute as Luke Shaw’s corner was glanced past the far post by the unmarked figure of Rhys Lewis, and Pilling then had to be quickly off his line with Felipe Barcelos in pursuit. With the action already end to end Ryan Crowther then missed a glorious chance for the opener as he helped Dyche’s near post cross over the bar before a lofted pass saw Lee Shaw beat the offside trap with Pilling needing to spread himself well to make the block.
The opening goal couldn’t be far away and sure enough after Pilling had made a flying save from Danny Meadows’ speculative 30 yard effort Meadows’ forward pass found Barcelos stepping past Stephen Mason before providing an emphatic finish into the top corner. The Gingerbreads could have extended their advantage as Meadows’ header from Luke Shaw’s corner was cleared off the line by Mason but on the half hour matters were level as John Roberts picked out Dyche who cut inside on to his left foot and saw his slightly deflected effort wrong foot Preston to sneak in at the near post.
Ashton started to lose their discipline as the interval approached as joint manager Will Haining was sent from the touchline for complaining after Ryan Crowther had clearly been pulled back, an offence not seen by Mr Jones despite the linesman’s flag and Dyche was booked for a foul on Ellis Storey.
Ten minutes into the second half and a hopeful punt up field held up on the wind allowing Lee Shaw to advance into the area and squeeze his effort past Pilling from a tight angle and the no.10 almost repeated the dose 5 minutes later from a tighter angle with Mason saving Ashton once again with a goal line clearance. Lee Shaw continued to impress as he brought a flying save out of Pilling from Luke Shaw’s left wing cross and then forced another good save from the debutant keeper before Meadows fired the rebound over the bar. A fine move from the home side then saw Lee Shaw reach the by line from where his cross led to Clifton being denied by a combination of Pilling and the post with Hollingsworth side footing the loose ball wide.
Team: Pilling, Smalley, Maiese, Mason, Connor, Lees, Roberts, Lowe (Knight), Chadwick, Dyche (Collins), Crowther. SNU: Banim, Haining, McIlwaine.