Robins Back On Track
Superb Performance Banishes Cup Blues
Report Steve Lee
Ashton United climbed up to third in the table with a superb performance at highly fancied Witton Albion as they got their cup disappointment out of their system in style.
With Terry Smith starting the first of a three game suspension, Paul Phillips made his Robins debut and he produced a string of fine saves, in the first half in particular, to keep the home side at bay. The Ashton defence as a unit were so solid and fully deserved their second clean sheet of the campaign.
Ashton did begin the game with a flurry of corners without really troubling the Albion goal, although Aaron Burns had a header from a Tom Baker cross that went over the bar.
Phillips was called into action when Danny Anderson unleashed a shot from the edge of the area that the keeper managed to dive to his left and palm the ball away and then Shaun Tuck attempted an ambitious overhead kick that went wide.
The Robins ought to have opened the scoring soon after when a cross field pass from Danny Caldecott fell into the path of Mark Peers and the resulting cross was met by unmarked Warren Beattie, but he headed over the bar.
Phillips then held well from an Anderson header, whilst opposite number Matthew Cooper was able to save from Stephen Johnson following a neat turn after a pass from Beattie.
An exciting opening half saw Wittom twice test Phillips within a minute, firstly saving from Anthony Gardner and then he denied Josh Hancock from long range.
Hancock had the last chance of the half when he cut inside from the wing and had his shot deflected wide.
Ashton had an early chance in the second half after Albion had failed to clear a corner, Craig Robinson showing some neat footwork to create a shooting opportunity, but his effort went wide of the target.
The Robins took the lead after fifty minutes as former Witton man Peers produced a turn of speed that took him past Josh Glover and his perfect cross fell to Chris Baguley whose looping header went over Cooper and into the top corner.
Witton were allowed plenty of possession in their own half, but as soon as they entered the Robins half, were quickly closed down and very rarely threatened the Ashton goal.
As Witton pressed forward, they were caught out as substitute Matty Kosylo was found in space on the left, he found the supporting Baker, who produced a inch perfect shot out of the reach of Cooper into the bottom corner to double the Ashton lead.
Hancock headed over and Phillips then palmed away a shot from the same player as Albion built up a head of steam in the last quarter of an hour.
Ashton could have made it three when a break from Kosylo ended with a pass to Johnson, but his shot was deflected wide.
Witton threatened when Ben Harrison sent a diving header wide and with five minutes to go were given a lifeline when Beattie upended Anderson, but Tuck blazed the spot kick over the bar.
Ashton comfortably held on to their advantage to get back to winning ways and leave them in good heart for a revenge mission against their FA Cup conquerers Marine at Hurst Cross on Wednesday.
Ashton United: Phillips, Frost, Caldecott, Beattie, Robinson, Lynch, Peers (Mulholland), Baker, Burns (Kosylo), Baguley (Burke), Johnson.
SNU B. Smith, Harrop