Points Dropped To Battling Frickley
Fair result in the end but a game that should have been won
Report Steve Lee
Ashton United dropped their first points of the season in a tough game at Frickley Athletic, who put their first point on the board with a dogged display against the league leaders.
The Robins have only themselves to blame however for relinquishing their unblemished start to the season, for not adding to Matty Barlow's strike just before the break, and in the end a draw was about the right outcome.
An early effort from Matty Kosylo that went wide of the post was a rare attempt from the Robins in the opening exchanges, Frickley having the better of possession but without looking like troubling Terry Smith.
Glyn Cotton was at the hub of Athletic's attacks, he unleashed an effort from outside of the area that went wide and then provided a cross from a free kick that saw Danny South rise and head the ball wide.
Cotton again tried his luck with a curling effort that went wide and then a flowing move ended with Smith saving from South.
Mark Peers, who was used sparingly throughout, created a chance for himself by winning the ball on the edge of the area, only to shoot over the bar.
Smith was called upon for his first real action midway through the half with Cotton sending in a corner that South headed goalwards, but the Ashton keeper tipped his header over the bar.
Ashton began to put some pressure on the home defence, Tom Baker won the ball in midfield, Kosylo was released on the right and he raced down the wing before picking out Peers, whose shot went wide.
Kosylo and Alex Frost then combined to provide Barlow with a shooting opportunity that Tom Woodhead saved at his near post.
A minute before the break Frickley's defence were caught napping when Kosylo picked out the unmarked Barlow, who scored with consummate ease to give Ashton the lead.
Ben Deegan then had a shot saved in injury time as the Robins ended the half on top.
Gavin Allott had an early run at the Ashton defence, a last ditch tackle preventing the Frickley man from getting an effort on goal.
The Robins began to threaten a second goal which would have probably killed the game off.
Deegan set up Kosylo who shot at Woodhead, then a Frost header found Deegan, who showed some fine skill to beat his marker and have a shot that the keeper parried, Jake Picton cleared the ball away from danger at the expense of a corner.
The best chance the Robins had to increase their lead came when Matty Burke played in Deegan, who held the ball up well and his pass to the unmarked Barlow was slightly overhit, which took the striker wide and his shot went over the bar.
Further Ashton pressure came from a cross field pass from Kyle Harrop, an able deputy for the injured Danny Caldecott at left back, he sent Kosylo away on the wing and his cross eventually fell to Frost, who shot went over the bar when well placed.
Ashton were made to rue those missed chances, for when Chris Lynch was penalised for a foul on the edge of the area, Ashton couldn't clear Cotton's free kick, the ball fell to substitute Inderjeet Aujla, who produced a stunning strike from 20-yards that flew into the bottom corner despite Smith getting a hand onto the ball.
The goal galvanised the home side, who had looked devoid of ideas until then, although Ashton also still possessed a threat going forward, none more so than when substitute Astley Mulholland picked out Peers at the back post, his header crashed against the bar and Athletic were able to clear their lines.
Peers also fired a free kick over the bar after Deegan was hauled down in what appeared to all and sundry well inside the penalty area, but the referee deemed the challenge to have been made right on the edge of the area.
Ashton had a scare when Lynch cleared off the line from a South header and Smith saved at the second attempt from a header from Frickley skipper Matt Bloor.
In injury time Ashton pushed forward one final time, Peers produced a cross that Baker fired goalwards, but the impressive Woodhead saved at his near post.
Ashton: Smith, Frost, Harrop, Baker, Robinson, Lynch, Kosylo (Mulholland 73), Burke, Barlow (Burns 73), Deegan, Peers. subs not used Rose, Baguley, Beattie
Ashtonutd.com Man of the Match: Ben Deegan