Much Improved Ashton Take Battling Point
Report by Steve Lee.
Ashton United restored some pride with a hard earned point against in-form Nantwich Town, a result that prompted the record books to be thumbed through.
The reason? Draws at Hurst Cross are as rare as hens teeth, nineteen months to be precise since Ashton United shared the spoils in a home league encounter, a point apiece being about right in a game spoilt by a whistle happy referee.
Dabbers had the best of the first half chances, an early opening seeing Ben Mills shoot straight at Terry Smith after receiving a through ball from Sean Cooke.
Smith produced an even better save soon after, Simon Everall's clever turn and shot being saved by the outstretched legs of Smith.Cooke fired wide after finding space on the right as Nantwich pressed for an opening.
Ashton's cause was hindered when Peter Wright limped off after pulling up whilst following a through ball, but his replacement Aaron Burns soon got in on the action.A fine cross field pass from Alex Frost fell into the path of the Ashton striker, who fell under a ball winning challenge, but much to the amazement of the Nantwich players, the referee pointed to the spot. Burns blasted the spot kick in off the underside of the bar to give Ashton the lead with their first shot at goal.
It took the Cheshire side some seven minutes of the second half to get back on to level terms as giant centre half Matt Bailey headed home unchallenged following a corner by Cooke.Town skipper Chris Flynn wasted a good opportunity after Brian Sommerskill found him in space, only for him to fire over the bar.
Ashton began to pose more problems for a then relatively untroubled Town defence, a Danny Lambert pass found Jonathon Bathurst but his effort took a slight deflection that took the pace off the ball and John Brain made a comfortable stop.
Frost then got on the end of a free kick by Ben Smith but headed straight at the keeper and then another set piece saw George Melling head over following a corner by Mark Peers.
Nantwich's best chance came with a quarter of an hour from time when Mills took advantage of a slip by Melling, but with just Smith to beat, shot tamely at the keeper.
Peers shot over following a cross from substitute Matty Kosylo and opposing substitute Nial McGuire shot over after a cross from the impressive Aleksanders Solovjovs.
The referee might have been irked the Nantwich contingent with his penalty award in the first half, but Ashton were denied a stonewall penalty as Burns was pushed over by Bailey, but the referee somehow deemed the challenge to be a fair one.
After some less than impressive home performances, Ashton boss Danny Johnson will have been pleased with the commitment shown by the team that was boosted by the return of the irrepressible Ged Murphy.
ASHTON: T Smith, Frost, J Rose, Murphy, Melling, Roberts, Peers, B Smith (Kosylo 74), Bathurst (Madeley 68), Wright (Burns 30), Lambert. subs not used Swirad, Bennett.