10 Men Not Enough To Compete In Games
Report by Steve Lee.
After a humiliating cup exit at Hurst Cross last week, Ashton United boss Danny Johnson gave ten of the starting line up against Spennymoor a chance to redeem themselves, but the Robins slumped to an embarrassing defeat to struggling Stafford Rangers.
Ashton did begin well with Chris Amadi proving a handful for the Rangers defence, an early run ending with a shot straight at Sam Johnson and then he teed up the usually reliable Ian Bennett, only his shot went wide of the near post.
Stafford's early efforts were long range efforts that did not trouble Terry Smith with Liam Shotton, Peter Heler and Kevin Street all firing well wide.
Matty O'Neill was largely kept at bay by the Stafford defence, a rare cross from the right finding an off balance Kyle Harrop, who headed wide.
Rangers began to take a grip on the game, Andy White's shot travelling on the lush surface wide of the goal and then Smith had to be brave to parry a shot from close range by Sean Kinsella away from danger.
The key moment of the match was when the assistant referee flagged to get the referee's attention of an off the ball incident involving Amadi and a Stafford defender, the referee brandishing a red card to the Robins striker for violent conduct.
Ashton had hardly got time to rejig their ten-men when Stafford grabbed the lead, Glynn Blackhurst produced a sensational long range effort that gave Terry Smith no chance.
The Midlanders dominated the remainder of the half, Heler pounced on a loose ball and his shot struck the post and then Smith held on to a long range effort by Kinsella.
The Robins defensive frailties were exposed two minutes from the break as Heler waltzed around Liam Dawson and his cross from the bye-line being tapped home at the far post by Street.
At the break, the referee was forced to quit with a calf injury and a plea over the tannoy for an official to run the line was rewarded as the senior referee's assistant took over the whistle blowing duties.
The second half saw Ashton move Dawson into a more attacking role, leaving three at the back and the former Oldham man raced onto a cross field pass, but with the goal at his mercy, shot straight at Sam Johnson.
Recent signing Dave Roberts then got on the end of a cross from O'Neill, but his shot went wide and then Ben Smith had a shot that deflected wide off a defender.
Stafford wasted a good chance to increase their lead when Street was found in space, but for once his shot went well over the bar.
Ashton capitulated once Stafford added a soft third goal as a cross from the left found its way to Karl Epsley who tapped home unmarked.
Two minutes later it got worse for the Robins as Street, looking in an offside position, scored from close range, the Ashton defence with Smith in particular incensed that the goal was allowed to stand.
Ashton should have reduced the hefty deficit when Alex Frost met a Dawson corner, only for his header to go over the bar.
A minute from time Street grabbed his hat-trick, Andy White having a shot blocked but the rebound fell kindly to Street who made no mistake to make it five for Rangers.
In injury time Ashton grabbed a consolation goal when Peter Wright played in substitute Matty Kosylo, who confidently beat Johnson, but by then all the damage had been done.
Ashton: T Smith, Harrop, Dawson, Roberts, Melling, Frost, O'Neill (Kosylo 69), Bennett, Amadi, Wright, B Smith (Bathurst 73). Subs not used Lambert, Burns, Rimmer
Attempts on target: ASH 5-10 STA
Attempts off target: ASH 5-8 STA
Corners: ASH 4-5 STA
Free kicks conceded: ASH 13-14 STA
Offside: ASH 4-2 STA
Red Cards: ASH 1-0 STA
Yellow Cards: ASH 2-1 STA