Ten Man Ashton Bravely Hold on for Excellent Point
Report by Steve Lee.
Ashton United performed a heroic rearguard action to come away from third placed Hednesford Town with a point, this after the Robins, yet again, were reduced to ten men.
Kevin Sanasy received a straight red card after retaliating following a challenge by Pedro Monteiro early in the second half which left Ashton facing an uphill struggle, but they held firm to frustrate the home side.
Hednesford had a couple of early chances, Terry Smith comfortably held a free kick by Chris Clements and Cheyenne Dunkley won a challenge inside the area, but his shot was straight at Smith, who also saved from a Elliott Durrell volley.
Ashton should have tested home keeper Dan Crane when Ian Bennett produced a strong run, but sliced his effort wide when well placed.
Crane then flapped at a corner from Bennett, the ball eventually found Matty O'Neill, but his shot through a crowded penalty area went wide.
Another Bennett corner was partially cleared, but Danny Caldecott was well wide from the edge of the area, whilst at the other end, Dunkley headed over from a Campion corner.
Hednesford ended the half on top, Marvin Robinson shot wide after being set up by Clements and then Smith produced a fine save to deny Durrell.
The second half had barely began when Ashton were back in familiar territory in having a numerical disadvantage in playing personnel as Sanasy saw red after retaliating to Monteiro grabbing him around the throat. The referee showed the instigator of the fracas a yellow to show inconsistancy.
For the remainder of the game, Ashton were reduced to defending in numbers to keep the home side at bay, although substitute Chris Amadi did his best to stretch the home defence.
Chris Shaw tried a long range effort that went wide and then Gary Hay glanced a header from a Durrell cross wide of the goal.
Ashton's best chance came when Amadi sped down the right, held off the challenge of Monteiro but his shot from a narrow angle was palmed away by Crane.
The closest Town came to a goal came when substitute Mark Danks cut inside from the right before unleashing a shot that hit the foot of the far post.
Clements headed over from a Durrell cross and Jamey Osborne shot well wide as the home side became increasingly frustrated. Their cause wasn't helped either with some woeful crossing from the right flank.
Ashton continued to thwart the home side and were almost undone in the fifth minute of stoppage time with a shot that was heading for the top corner until Smith tipped the ball over the bar to preserve his clean sheet.
ASHTON: T Smith, Frost, Roberts, Murphy, Melling, Robinson, O'Neill (Harrop 60), Bennett, Madeley (Amadi 60) (Piana 90), Sanasy, Caldecott. subs not used B Smith, Lambert