Battling Robins Draw Without Lynch-Pin
Report Steve Lee
Ashton United made it four successive clean sheets after a battling point at play off contenders Rushall Olympic.
The Robins squad has been decimated in recent weeks with departures and Danny Johnson was forced into an eleventh hour change as it transpired that Australia bound Chris Lynch’s international clearance had come through, deeming him ineligible to don the number two shirt.
Versatile Danny Lambert was promoted to the starting line up with Ben Smith making up the bench.
Rushall’s approach to the game was akin to Wimbledon in their pomp with a huge punt to the forwards, luckily the makeshift Ashton defence were able to cope with the aerial bombardment admirably.
Ashton were guilty of fighting fire with fire by playing the long ball themselves, but when they played the ball to feet, caused problems for the Olympic defence.
The first bit of goalmouth action saw Matty Kosylo and Kyle Harrop combine on the right to set up Aaron Burns, whose first time shot went over the bar.
Paul Phillips made a fine save to tip away a Kyle Haynes effort in what was the Walsall outfits only attempt on target of a forgettable first half.
Chris Gemmell bravely saved from Burns and then Wayne Daniels produced a goal saving tackle as Burns was just about to release the trigger when through on goal.
An early effort in the second half saw Burns’ shot deflected wide by a defender from a Thomas Moore pass.
The nearest either side came to scoring came when Haynes cross was headed against the bar by Dave Walker.
Rushall were wasteful in front of goal as Josh Craddock headed over from a Grant Beckett corner and substitute Hakeem Islam, with the goal at his mercy headed over.
Chris Amadi almost cashed in when Rushall lost possession on half way, the speedy winger raced down the left wing, but when Gemmell came out to reduce the angle, Amadi took a touch too much and the keeper smothered the ball.
Lee Downes pounced on a loose ball, only to shoot over and Phillips was easily able to save from Craddock.
In the closing stages, a quick break from the home side saw Craig Robinson foul Walker, which earned him a second yellow card, but even against ten men, Rushall were unable to fashion out any more chances as the Robins comfortably held on for a point.
ASHTON Phillips, Lambert, Harrop, Moore, Robinson, Frost, Kosylo (Murty 85), Burke, Burns (Baguley 56), Barlow, Amadi. subs not used Smith, Sherriff, Riley