Ten Man Robins Suffer Cruel Blow
Report by Steve Lee
Rock bottom Whitby Town earned only their second win of the season as they netted twice in the final five minutes in a controversial affair at Hurst Cross.
Ashton put on a fine rearguard action after keeper Terry Smith was harshly sent off and replaced for eighty-five minutes by striker Sam Madeley as the Robins didn’t have a substitute goalkeeper on the bench.
Whitby had already wasted a glorious opportunity to take a third minute advantage when Matthew Tyman was put through with only Smith to beat, he duly lobbed the advancing keeper, but saw his shot hit the bar and go over.
Kevin Sanasy had an early effort that curled wide of the target in what proved to be a rare Ashton attempt as the game’s course was changed with the sending off of Smith.
Once more Smith was exposed as Andy Appleby found himself free of the last defender, Smith raced out of his goal and from point blank range the striker’s shot hit the keeper’s arm and the referee had no hesitation to show the red card. Madeley, after his heroics at Northwich last season donned the green jersey and once more performed admirably, assisted ably by a defence that blocked almost everything.
Ashton, faced with the disadvantage of being a man down, no recognised keeper in goal and facing a strong wind were further forced on the defensive by giving away possession far too cheaply.
Appleby continued to pose the biggest threat for the visitors, faced with just Madeley to beat, he lobbed the ball over the bar and then a 20-yarder was tipped over expertly by Madeley.
Whitby came close to an opener when Madeley was finally beaten with a header by Tyman, but the ball rebounded to safety after hitting the far post.
Respite at the other end was rare, but the returning Matty O’Neill had a run than ended with a pass to Ian Bennett, who shot over.
Madeley was called upon to save with his feet to deny Appleby again, whilst Ashton’s attacking options were further hampered when Mark Peers hobbled off close to the break.
Early in the second half Chris Amadi was brought on to replace O’Neill and his introduction was soon to reap rewards as with his first touch he got past Ashley Lyth and sent in a shot that lacked power but Tom Courtney somehow let the shot squirm through his hands and into the net for a ground swallowing moment.
Whitby continued to test Madeley, who was equal to a shot from Tom Portas and a free kick that beat the wall by Jeff Smith, but Madeley comfortably held on to.
Ashton bravely held on until five minutes from the end when Jimmy Beadle powered a header into the roof of the net following a corner.
Boosted by finally breaching Ashton’s rearguard action, Whitby sensed all three points were in the offing and they duly obliged to break the Robins hearts in the final minute as substitute Ibrahim Hassan struck the killer blow in a goalmouth scramble.
ASHTON: T Smith, Frost, Roberts, Murphy, Melling, Robinson, Peers (Harrop 43), Bennett, Madeley, Sanasy (Piana 69), O’Neill (Amadi 51). Subs not used Kosylo, Lambert