Ashton top of the Pile
Report by David Robinson
Ashton’s impressive start to the season continued as a goal in each half took them to a comfortable victory on Sutton’s 3G surface. Fielding an unchanged line up from the win over Warrington, Jack Dyche was the first to threaten as he created something of a pinball in the home area with 3 attempts at a cross before the ball was cleared. Danny Pilkington was then fouled 22 yards out with John Pritchard sending the free kick much too high, and a rebound then fell promisingly to Pritchard on the left hand side of the area with his aim again awry.
Midway through the half the breakthrough arrived as a 30 yard free kick by Nicky Platt was apparently deflected out of Springthorpe’s reach by Liam Tomsett, who had won the original award. The Royals could have hit back immediately as Niall Flint’s effort brought the best out of Carnell with Nathaniel Kelly heading the resulting corner just wide. A great overhead cross by Dyche then saw Platt head straight at the keeper from 6 yards out but the task immediately got much harder for the hosts as Zak Martin was dismissed for a fierce challenge through the back of Pilkington and with the home supporters’ band playing ‘The Great Escape’ it was likely to take something of those proportions for them to recover.
Lanre Olapede then saw his header from Pritchard’s corner cleared from in front of goal whilst at the other end Gurjit Singh cut inside before hitting a wayward left foot effort.
On the resumption Pritchard’s free kick saw a sharp turn from Dyche needing Springthorne to save with his feet and John Roberts’ ball into the area ran all the way through to Platt who brought another low save out of the home custodian. A corner was then cleared as far as Platt who put his shot straight down Springthorne’s throat and the overworked keeper then grasped Josh Granite’s header from Pritchard’s corner.
Tomsett’s persistence then set Pilkington up whose chip went past the far post and Dyche got free down the left and saw his pull back to Platt allow Springthorne to make the save. The unfortunate Josh Stachini then had to be replaced just 2 minutes after coming off the bench but with a quarter hour left the Robins got the decisive second as a loose ball fell to sub Oscar Durnin who fired home from the edge of the area and Durnin could have turned provider as Pilkington headed his fine cross wide.
Team: Carnell, Olapede, Coo (Durnin 56), Granite, Chalmers, Roberts (Stachini 66, Johnson 69), Platt, Tomsett, Dyche, Pilkington, Pritchard. SNU: Cartwright, Woodford.