10 Man Ashton Secure Memorable Win
Report by Steve Lee.
Ashton United overcame the handicap of playing for all but three minutes with ten men and twice going a goal behind to secure victory over struggling Burscough at Hurst Cross on an action packed Wednesday evening.
The game had barely begun when the first foul of the game from George Melling prompted referee Mark Duncan to issue a straight red card to the Ashton vice captain and led to a rejigged defence with Matty O’Neill moving to right back and Kyle Harrop taking Melling’s place at the centre of defence.
From the free kick Paul Williams fired straight at Terry Smith and then Kevin Leadbetter centred to Mark Houghton, who curled his shot over the bar.
Despite the disadvantage in numbers, Ashton looked as likely to score as the Linnets, Aaron Burns did well turn and execute a shot that went wide and then strike partner Chris Amadi received a pass from Wayne Cahill, turned his marker, only to shoot straight at Craig Ellison.
Cahill then cut inside from the left but shot straight at his former Curzon team-mate.
It was against the run of play that the visitors scored when Andy Barlow ghosted in on the left to head home unmarked following a cross by Leadbetter.
The goal gave the Linnets confidence and Williams fired over from long range and Smith palmed away another shot from outside the area from James McCulloch.
Ashton began to create some chances of their own, Burns once more shooting straight at Ellison, Ian Bennett saw his shot go over the bar from a throw by O’Neill and Ellison bravely deflected the ball away as Burns bore down on goal, Danny Caldecott did hit the outside of the post with a cross as the half drew to a close.
Ashton got the second half off to a great start with a well constructed equaliser as O’Neill got down the right flank at speed, beat Shaun Holden’s challenge before finding Amadi, who turned his marker and fired into the bottom corner of the net.
Cahill shot wide after once more cutting in from the left and Amadi produced a strong run down the right but shot wide as the Robins pressed forward.
Burscough, like in the first half, regained the lead very much against the run of play, it was substitute Gerrard King who provided the cross that was headed past Smith at the near post through a glancing header by Conor Roberts.
Ashton battled back and five minutes later cashed in some shambolic defending as Caldecott’s free kick caused panic in the Burscough back line, Danny Lambert provided a cross across the face of goal that was missed by the defence and Amadi was on hand to tap home the loose ball.
The excitement had barely died down when a minute later Ashton attacked again and fashioned a stunning winner with Lambert once more playing a prominent role, but it was left to Bennett who curled a shot from the edge of the area into the top corner past a helpless Ellison.
Bennett then provided a great opportunity to wrap the game up with a through ball that substitute Jonathon Bathurst raced onto, but with Ellison to beat, saw his shot saved by the keeper.
Centre back Chris Rimmer came even closer to his first goal of the season when Lambert’s corner was rolled to O’Neill and he rattled the crossbar with a powerful header.
Ashton continued to press late on as Lambert fired wide and then Bennett intercepted a stray pass only to have his shot saved by Ellison.
Amadi was brought down when through on goal by James Connolly and then kicked whilst he was on the ground by Barlow, neither getting the same punishment that Melling received for his challenge much to the anger of the Robins camp.
Burscough had a lot of possession but created very little, the best chance of rescuing a point came deep in stoppage time when Connolly headed wide after an impressive run and cross from Holden.
The Robins comfortably held on for the remaining minute or so to secure their second win of the campaign and move into sixth place in the league.
ASHTON: T Smith, Harrop, Caldecott, Murphy, Melling, Rimmer, O’Neill, Bennett, Burns (Bathurst 70), Amadi (Madeley 89), Cahill (Lambert 59). Subs not used B Smith, Frost.