Baker the Hero as 10 Man Ashton Dispatch Nantwich
Report by Steve Lee.
New signing Tom Baker struck a wonderful winner just three minutes from time just as it looked like Nantwich Town appeared to become the
first side to take points off Danny Johnson's side.
Ashton were up against it as they were reduced to ten men midway through the second half, but not for the first time this season, showed
their battling qualities to earn maximum points with a late goal.
Ashton began in confident mood with Astley Mulholland having an early chance that was comfortably saved by John Brain.
Mulholland's next shot was saved by a defender, but amazingly, the referee waved away Ashton penalty appeals.
Nantwich came back into the game and Fraser McLallan won the ball on the edge of the area, only to fire over the bar.
Shaun Cooke then provided some tricky skill on the right but a fine run was ended with a shot that Terry Smith saved.
Mark Peers provided a chance that Ben Deegan shot wide before Ashton almost pressed the self destruct button when a Smith walkabout
resulted in possession being squandered, but Alex Frost saved his keeper's blushes as Kyle Wilson fired the loose ball goalwards.
A goalkeeping error was going to lead to the first goal, this time it was the Dabbers keeper Brain with the red face as he appeared to
have Baker's long range shot covered, but the ball somehow squirmed out of hid hands and into the net.
Nantwich enjoyed a better second half and Niall Maguire had an early effort that was saved by Smith.
Twelve minutes into the second half, Town levelled the scores, once more a poor clearance from Smith gave possession in away and Cooke was
on hand to tap home an easy leveller.
Smith saved from Wilson after he had won the ball on the edge of the area, and then Ashton lost Craig Robnson with a straight red card
after another poor clearance had forced the centre half to make a rash tackle that brought down Wilson.
Leading scorer Deegan was moved from his striking duties to stopping attacks as he replaced Robinson at centre back, Aaron Burns being
brought on to be the sole striker.
Ashton produced a chance against the run of play when Brain punched Matty Kosylo's cross into the path of Matty Burke, but his shot was
Burke then turned provider as his pass put Peers into the clear, but his shot went straight at Brain.
Twice in a minute Smith made two reaction saves as he denied centre back Matt Bailey, palming the ball away each time, the second occasion
the follow up was put into the net, only to be adjudged offside.
Smith was in action again soon after with another fine stop to deny Mark Beesley as Town pressed forward against the ten men.
Kosylo made 50-yard run at pace before being brought down by McLallan, but Baker curled a free kick over the bar.
With three minutes left a quick break instigated by Baker found the supporting Burns, who picked the perfect time to release a pass into
the path on the on-rushing Baker and his first time shot gave Brain no chance to spark wild scenes of celebration.
Ashton held out for the remainder of the game as they continued their flying start to the campaign against the odds.
ASHTON: Smith, Frost, Caldecott (Harrop 18), Baker, Robinson, Lynch, Mulholland (Kosylo 54), Burke, Barlow (Burns 68), Deegan, Peers. subs
not used Rose, Baguley