Robins Lose out to Single Goal on Merseyside
Report by Steve Lee.
Ashton United's failure to make the most of some good build up play cost them dearly in an entertaining encounter at mid table Marine.
The Robins were unable to break down a stubborn Mariners defence but a defensive slip at the other end led to the solitary goal in a game that Ashton deserved a point from.
A breathtaking opening saw chances at both ends inside the first couple of minutes, Marine having an early shot from Andy Fowler that was saved by Terry Smith, whilst Liam Dawson's shot following a pass from Peter Wright went wide.
Ashton almost gifted their hosts the lead on ten minutes when Alex Frost's ambitious cross field pass was intercepted and Stephen Johnson dragged a shot wide when well placed.
Marine continued to create chances, some skill from Neil Harvey saw him beat a couple of challenges only to shoot wide, Fowler shot wide following a corner and Thomas Moore's free kick was deflected into the grateful hands of Smith.
Ian Bennett shot over the bar as Ashton began to pose problems for the Marine defence and when Chris Amadi used his pace down the left before sending over a cross for Wright, it looked odds on for his fifth goal in four games, but the striker fired wide when well placed.
Kyle Harrop, who showed his adaptability again by playing in midfield, had a long range effort that went wide.Ashton had a let off towards the end of the half as John Shaw's bundled effort beat Smith, but the ball was cleared off the line, despite the home side claiming in vain that the ball had crossed the line.
A period of home pressure ended with Johnson shooting wide, but the last word of an open first half fell to the Robins as Wright's powerful shot being too hot to handle for Ryan McMahon, but the home side managed to block the follow up attempt.
Ashton began the second half on the attack and Wright teed up Aaron Burns, whose shot was palmed away by McMahon, Burns then turned provider as Matty O'Neill received his cross from the left, but his shot was blocked.
Moore tried his luck from long range but was off target, but the home side gradually built up the pressure as they forced several corners in succession.
Smith produced a save out of the top drawer to tip a header from Moore away following a cross by Louis Barnes and shortly after Smith did brilliantly to keep out a powerful shot from Fowler after he had cut inside.
The ebb and flow nature of the game continued, Ashton looking dangerous when on the attack, Harrop having an effort blocked from which Wright managed to win the ball before firing wide.
The best chance for the Robins came when a through ball from Burns was seized on by Amadi as he outsprinted his marker, only to drag his shot wide of the far post with just McMahon to beat.
The miss was to prove costly, for shortly after Marine grabbed the lead as Frost failed to intercept a cross field pass that allowed substitute Carl Gargan a free run inside the Ashton area and Johnson made no mistake from his cross to finally beat Smith.
Ashton continued to produce some fine build up play but were thwarted time and again with some last ditch defending, Amadi having a shot blocked from a pass by Bennett whilst Wright headed wide from Frost's centre.
Marine came close to a second as Fowler was denied by another excellent save from Smith, who immediately repelled Gargan from the rebound in the ensuing goalmouth scramble.
Ashton battled on but had no further chances as the home side held on to claim their first home win since the opening day of the season, and despite the defeat, Ashton on this showing should be encouraged by the performance.
Ashton: T Smith, Frost, Dawson, Harrop, Melling, Rimmer (Bathurst 75), O'Neill, Bennett, Burns, Wright, Amadi (Madeley 75). Subs not used J Rose, Lambert, Lacy
Attempts on target MAR 8-4 ASH
Attempts off target: MAR 10-8 ASH
Corners: MAR 10-7 ASH
Free kicks conceded: MAR 7-17 ASH
Offside: MAR 2-1 ASH
Red cards: MAR 0-0 ASH
Yellow cards: MAR 2-1 ASH