Northwich Complete Comfortable Win
Report by Steve Lee.
Promotion chasing Northwich Victoria eased to victory at Hurst Cross as the Robins struggled to get a foothold in the game played on a poor pitch.
The visitors began brightly with Jordan Johnson being particularly elusive on the right wing and allowed far too much room in which to manoeuvre.
Johnson was involved in the first meaningful attack with a run at Danny Caldecott that ended with a cross that was fired over the bar by Ryan Wade.
The winger then cut inside before shooting over the bar and then Terry Smith easily held a shot from Wade following a cross by John Disney.
Ashton’s first effort saw Alex Frost got on the end of a corner by Ian Bennett, but it lacked any power and Ben Hinchcliffe easily picked up the loose ball.
Northwich were handed a post Christmas gift as Johnson theatrically fell under a challenge in the area and the referee obliged with the award of a soft penalty that Tom Field fired past Smith.
Hinchcliffe struggled to hold the greasy ball on the muddy pitch and only saved Bennett’s shot at the second attempt.
Warren Beattie, on his home debut dispossessed Johnson on the edge of the area but saw his shot go over the bar and Ashton’s best spell of the game before the break saw Bennett fathom a chance with a clever turn but his shot was turned away for a corner by Hinchcliffe.
Ashton ought to have levelled two minutes into the second half as Marlin Piana made mincemeat of a challenge from Lewis Short, his pass to the unmarked Bennett saw the midfielder totally miskick the ball and to rub salt into the wounds Vics went down the other end and scored instantaneously.
Johnson sent Wade in on the left and although Smith managed to save his shot, Chris Budrys was on hand to tap home the rebound.
Ashton were denied a penalty when Piana was pushed over when clean through, but only looked a threat when Jonathon Bathurst appeared with a quarter of an hour remaining.
Before then it was Northwich that dominated as Smith denied Johnson following a quick break and Wade fired over the bar.
Bathurst was quickly in the action when he cashed in on a defensive mix up following a throw in by George Melling, but blazed over the bar within seconds of his introduction.
Northwich completed the scoring with a third goal some nine minutes from time with Budrys on hand to convert a cross from Wade.
Close to the end Bathurst sent a header goalwards following a cross by Chris Amadi, but he was denied a mere consolation goal by the crossbar.
Ashton: T Smith, Frost, Caldecott (Roberts 53), Harrop, Melling, Robinson(Kosylo 68), Peers (Bathurst 75), Bennett, Piana, Beattie, Amadi. Subs not used Lambert, B Smith