Thank Goodness March Is Behind Us
Robins Secure Premier Division Status
Report Steve Lee
Ashton United made huge strides to ensure that they will be in the EvoStik Premier Division next season as they tasted victory for the first time in a month with victory over mid table Rushall Olympic.
Manager Danny Johnson made several changes to the side beaten at home by Marine the previous Saturday, Kyle Harrop and Danny Caldecott returning to the starting line up as full backs, whilst a new strike partnership of Kevin Sanasy and Chris Amadi kept the Rushall defence busy.
An early long range effort from Alex Frost was tipped over the bar by Chris Gemmell and a lively opening continued at the other end as Chris Cheetham palmed away a shot from Ahmed Obeng.
Sanasy has struggled for form since his move to Hurst Cross, a regular scorer in his time in opposition colours, but he looked to have finally broke his duck when Gemmell could only deflect an Amadi shot onto Sanasy and the ball rebounded into the net. His celebrations were short lived however, as he was adjudged offside.
Rushall attempted a couple of long range shots that were woeful at best before Sanasy twice had efforts that were saved by Gemmell.
In between, Cheetham did well to tip away a shot at an acute angle from Craig Bannister.
Rushall’s next attack was to prove more fruitful as Ashton were guilty of slack marking at a corner and Lucan Spittle rose unchallenged at the back post to head home the opening goal.
Worse could have followed soon after as Obeng pounced on a loose ball, only to shoot over the bar and then a mazy run saw him brought down on the edge of the area, but the wall did its job from the free kick.
Ashton ended the half on top and when Mark Peers produced a defence splitting pass to put Matty Kosylo through, it looked odds on that he would score, but Gemmell reacted quickly to narrow the angle and deflected the ball wide.
The resulting corner saw Kosylo have a shot that fell into the path of Craig Robinson, who kept his composure to fire his first goal since returning to the club.
Ashton could have even gone into the break in the lead as a run from Peers saw him leave defenders in his wake, only to drag his shot wide of the target.
Chances were at a premium for much of the second half as Ashton gave away possession far too cheaply, but the Robins defence did its job of closing down the opposition.
The first chance of the half fell to goalscorer Robinson, who shot wide following a free kick by Peers and then Kosylo had a shot which deflected into the hands of the keeper.
A good move involving substitutes Aaron Burns and David Sherlock created space for Peers, but he saw his shot blocked by a defender.
Jonathan Haynes tried his luck from long range for the visitors and Cheetham saved from Luke Bottomer as Olympic piled forward.
Seven minutes from time the Robins struck the vital blow with a typical goal from the mercurial Amadi, who picked the ball up on the half way line where his speed left defenders chasing shadows and his well struck shot beat Gemmell’s despairing dive to spark mass celebrations.
Ashton could have been forgiven for shutting up shop, but just three minutes later they rubber stamped the three points on offer as Peers produced a fine cross that Warren Beattie met with a glancing header that went in at the near post for his first goal for the club.
There was still time for Burns to put the ball in the net, but his effort was ruled out for a foul, but it mattered not as Ashton finally got back to winning ways.
ASHTON: Cheetham, Harrop, Caldecott, Murphy, Frost, Robinson, Kosylo (Sherlock 75), Beattie, Sanasy (Burns 61), Amadi, Peers (Middleton 87), subs not used Bennett, B Smith