Long Journey Too Far
Robins Lose Their Way Report by David Robinson
Ashton finally lost their unbeaten record in an entertaining encounter in the North East which saw the hosts turn the game around in a dramatic finish. The first half saw Ashton’s crisp passing giving them the majority of possession although Matty Burke’s blushes were spared as he completely overhit a backpass which went just wide of goal.
O’Neill flicked the ball on to fellow striker Coppin who cut inside but saw his shot blocked on its way through to Grant, and Ben Richardson’s cross then found Chris Denham whose left foot effort deflected wide off Purewal. On 26 mins the visitors made the breakthrough as Burke’s corner reached Gary Gee at the far post who headed home his first goal from open play. At this point Ashton appeared to be in complete control as Coppin made a good run down the left wing and cut inside for O’Neill to drag his effort wide and Gee then headed another Burke corner wide of the target.
Spartans’ best chance of reaching the break level saw Watson beating Phillips to a through ball before firing tamely over the unguarded goal. Whatever Tom Wade said to his team at half time certainly worked as immediately Dale put Buddle clear in the area and his lob over Phillips was only denied by Chris Lynch clearing off the line. At the other end there was a similar outcome as a great run by Denham set up Richardson to pick out O’Neill who was also denied from close range.
The home side had certainly upped their game and Dale’s cross looped up for Hubbard to put his header straight into Phillips’ arms and Ashton missed a great chance to double their lead as Richardson’s fine cross saw Coppin (pictured) fail to keep his header down when he really should have scored. A scramble in the visitors’ area then saw the ball break to Mullen who fired narrowly wide and danger man Dale then made a great run to the byline but no-one was able to convert his cross.
However with just over 10 mins remaining Blyth deservedly drew level as Mullen’s corner was headed home unchallenged by centre back Parker and within 5 minutes a corner was returned into the area for Wade to head the winner and complete the turnaround.
Team: Phillips, Richardson, Pearson, Gorton, Lynch (c), Young, Burke (Freakes), Gee (Rick), O’Neill, Denham, Coppin (Logan). SNU: Pilkington, Halford.