Spot On At Steels
Honours Even In Tough Encounter
Aaron Burns (pictured) second penalty in as many games secured a point for the Robins from a hard fought encounter at Stocksbridge Park Steels.
Ashton had the better of the play in the first half with their South Yorkshire hosts getting more into the game as it wore on, with a draw being about right on the night.
The Robins started off by creating several chances on a fine playing surface that was wasted on Steels, whose route one football was easily dealt with by the Ashton defence, who worked well as a unit for the second successive game.
Ian Bennett had an early shot blocked after a cross from Wayne Cahill, and then Ged Murphy’s effort from outside the area flew over the bar.
Burns was presented with a good opportunity when he produced a good run into the Steels area, but his shot was saved by the legs of Ben Scott.
It was against the run of play when Jack Muldoon’s clever pass put Chris Adam through, Terry Smith raced out and Adam tumbled over and the referee awarded a penalty, the Ashton keeper being spared further punishment by the fact that the Steels man was heading away from goal.
Full back Anthony Lloyd fired home from the spot to give Stocksbridge the lead, before normal service resumed with Ashton the better of the teams. Scott managed to parry a fierce drive from Burns away and the Steels keeper also held a long range effort from Bennett.
Smith came to the rescue at the other end to deny Muldoon with a brave save when the striker looked like adding a second, but it was Ashton that continued to dominate, a Danny Caldecott free kick whipped in at pace just missed the onrushing Chris Rimmer by inches as Steels defence backed off.
Caldecott’s next contribution was more rewarding however as he fired in a deep cross from the left that was inexplicably handled by Kevin Davies and although Scott got a hand on Burns spot kick, it wasn’t enough to prevent Ashton levelling the scores.
In the final minute of the half, Cahill shot over after Steels failed to clear their lines.
An early run by the impressive Matty O’Neill saw him cut in from the right and send over an inch perfect cross for Burns, whose shot went wide of the near post, but after that Steels enjoyed more possession in Ashton territory forcing several free kicks from just outside the area.
Smith held well from a shot from Mark Ward and then Adam pulled a cross back from the bye-line that was shot into the side netting by Matt Telling.
Some neat build up play from Burns and Danny Lambert saw the latter send in a shot that was comfortably held by Scott and Burns once more looked threatening when he cut inside from the right only to see his shot from 20-yards go inches wide of the far post.
In between, Muldoon linked well to set up Adam but Smith made a vital save.
Both sides still looked for the win as the minutes ticked by, Richard Haigh wasted a good chance when he got on the end of a free kick from Ward, but failed to guide his header on target and at the other end a four man move instigated by Kyle Harrop ended with Lambert firing wide.
Substitute Chris Amadi had a first-time shot saved after receiving a pass from Bennett, but the final chance fell to Steels substitute Zeph Thomas, who ended a good move with a shot straight at Smith.
ASHTON UNITED: T Smith, Harrop, Caldecott, Murphy, Melling, Rimmer, O’Neill (Amadi 73), Bennett, Burns (Bathurst 90), Lambert, Cahill (Dawson 69). Subs not used B Smith, J Rose.
Report courtesy of Steve Lee