Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold
Robins Make Amends For Autumn Drubbing
Report by David Robinson
Spotter: Mike Frost
Ashton continued their climb towards safety with a vital victory over mid-table Stafford. After Rangers manager Greg Clowes had been awarded Manager of the Month for January the game got off to a very slow start with passes being misplaced liberally on a heavy surface.
It was 15 minutes before anything resembling a chance appeared as Street’s cross for the home side was touched through by Stevenson to Morris who was denied by a brave block from Terry Smith who needed treatment as a result. Ashton moved into attack as O’Neill won a tackle in midfield but Kosylo sliced his effort wide and then a corner was cleared to Lambert who also fired off target.
On the half hour Robert’s cross into the box fell to Aaron Burns whose effort was blocked at the cost of a corner and at the other end a long free kick into the area fell to Blackhurst whose effort looked on target but also found a defender in the way.A corner from the left side then reached Kosylo whose effort was narrowly wide, one of few real chances in the half.
However, just as the crowd were looking forward to the interval the deadlock was broken as Stevenson latched onto a long ball forward and turned inside past Melling who also slipped before firing an effort past Smith who may have thought he should have done better. Amazingly with the home crowd still celebrating O’Neill equalised for the visitors as he closed down the ball in midfield and collected a rebound before rounding a defender and beating keeper Read at the second attempt.
The second half was only 5 minutes old when a corner from the left reached Melling who stepped past a defender and knocked the ball towards goal for Burns to divert home which completed a run of 3 goals in little more than 6 minutes. Ten minutes later Rangers almost equalised as a mix up between Melling & Smith allowed Morris a clear sight of goal but his effort was blocked.
At the other end a melee in the home penalty area saw Burns go down under challenge but appeals were waved away. Rangers were then forced into a substitution as Sheldon was unfortunately stretchered off and with the temperature rising on the pitch several off the ball incidents saw the referee struggle to maintain control. Substitute Amadi then almost made an immediate impact as an electric turn of pace saw him past 3 defenders before squaring the ball to the unmarked Burns whose first touch was too heavy allowing Read to make the block.
The nearest the home side came to levelling was when Stevenson got to the byline and his cross was squeezed past the far post by Melling. With the final whistle due a neat exchange between Amadi and Peers set up substitute Bennett who dragged his shot wide of the goal.
Team; T. Smith, Frost, Roberts, Beattie, Robinson, Melling, O' Neill, Lambert (Bennett), Burns (Sanasy), Kosylo (Amadi), Peers (Harrop). SNU Rose, Murphy
Spotter: Mike Frost