Robins Draw New Year Opener
Report Steve Lee
Ashton United gained their first point in four attempts, but were left to rue missed chances as Stafford Rangers came away with a point following a rare Hurst Cross stalemate.
The midland side almost opened the scoring inside the opening five minutes when Fabrice Kashiama sent in a free kick that beat Paul Phillips but rattled the bar with the Robins able to clear the ball off the line.
Ashton's opening effort of the New Year saw Thomas Moore drag his effort wide of the target.
A better opportunity arrived as a Matty Burke corner was headed on by Craig Robinson, but deflected wide off a defender.
The Robins looked to haver ended their home goal drought when Burns headed home from a free kick by Stephen Johnson, but celebrations were soon put to a stop with the striker adjudged offside.
Phillips was tested with a rasping drive from Lee Downes, the Ashton keeper dived to his left to divert the ball away for a corner.
A quick Ashton break saw Johnson have his effort saved at the near post by Adam Alcock, whilst at the other end a sharp turn and shot from Daniel Quinn was saved by Phillips.
Phillips was the busier of the two keepers in the first half saving from Kashiama and then produced a fine stop after a free kick by Downes had taken a wicked deflection.
Burns had a great chance to score early in the second half, but with just Alcock to beat, saw him shoot tamely at the keeper.
James Bolton saved Rangers with a goal-line clearance after Robinson met Thomas Moore's free kick with a firm header and then following a corner, Scott Hogan straight at Alcock.
Ashton continued to look the more likely side to break the deadlock and Burns was denied by Alcock after the Robins leading scorer had attempted to take the ball round the keeper following a defensive error.
Rangers twice rode their luck in goalmouth skirmishes, the second saw Burns harshly cautioned after attempting to get to a loose ball.
Burns looked to have set up a late winner by holding off the challenges of three defenders before his cross fell to substitute Matty Barlow, but he made minimal contact and the ball went wide.
Johnson and Tom Baker both had efforts in injury time from long range, but were unable to find the target with the Robins having to settle for a point.
ASHTON: Phillips, Frost, Harrop (Denham 86), Burke, Robinson, Lynch, Hogan, Moore (Baker 83), Burns, Kosylo (Barlow 75), Johnson. subs not used Peers, Baguley