Fair Share Helps Neither Team
Report Steve Lee
Ashton United came away with a point after a battling performance at play off hopefuls Marine in what was an entertaining goalless draw.
The Mariners enjoyed the majority of possession in the first half, but the Robins had the better of the chances with Michael Connors having a couple of good chances that went begging.
A scrappy opening came to life after a quarter of an hour as a direct free kick from Sean Doherty cannoned to safety off the bar.
Another set piece created problems for the Ashton defence as John Shaw’s free kick was floated into the area, Danny Grannon saw his diving header go wide from close range.
Paul Phillips, who enjoyed another fine game was equal to a long range shot from Michael Ordish.
Connors first of a hat-trick of chances was a volley that was gratefully held by Marine keeper Ryan McMahon.
The Robins went even closer after former Marine winger Stephen Johnson produced a fine cross from the right wing that was met by Connors, his powerful header being tipped around the post by McMahon.
The resulting corner by Matty Burke was headed over the bar by skipper Chris Lynch.
Close to the break Johnson once more provided Connors with another chance following another fine run and cross, but the recently signed midfielder headed over with the goal at his mercy.
Ashton almost paid for some sloppy play just after the break when they lost possession on the edge of their own area, but Ordish curled his effort wide.
Marine almost opened the scoring when Doherty’s free kick was met by Grannan, but his header hit the post and away to safety.
Substitute Bohan Dixon, the Mariners version of Chris Amadi, pounced on a loose ball, but sent his shot wide of goal.
Another former Marine player, Thomas Moore, enjoyed one of his best games since his move from College Road and an incisive run at the heart of the defence ended with McMahon saving his shot.
The introduction of Matty Kosylo gave Ashton fresh attacking impetus; he gave Shaw the runaround by beating him with ease, he cut inside the penalty area, but his cross was scrambled away for a corner.
Amadi pounced on a loose ball and shot wide and then he turned provider with a pass that found Kosylo, whose shot went wide.
Marine piled forward in the latter stages, but the Ashton defence remained resolute and in the last line of defence, Phillips, had a keeper at the top of his game.
Phillips made a couple of great saves in the space of a couple of minutes, first Nick Rogan cut inside from the left, Phillips beat his shot away, and then produced an unbelievable save to tip a powerful header by Matty Brown away.
Shaw then headed away from the resulting Doherty corner.
In injury time it was Ashton that almost snatched it as they forced a couple of corners that had the home side at full stretch.
In the end a point was about right with Ashton proving a tough side to beat on their travels.
ASHTON Phillips, Frost, Harrop, Moore, Robinson, Lynch, Johnson, Burke, Barlow (Beattie 90), Connors (Amadi 67), Lambert (Kosylo 78)