Honours Even - Again!
Ashton unable to slay Gladiators. Report by David Robinson.
Ashton and Matlock played out their second goalless encounter of the season at the Reynolds Stadium where the conditions were the ultimate winner. With former manager John Coleman watching from the stand it was Ashton who went closest in the first minute as a long free kick from Pearson saw Garry Gee’s header deflected wide for a corner.
Home centre forward Holland then strode past Jack Higgins but his cross evaded everyone before a long clearance by keeper Kennedy fell to the same player who volleyed tamely wide. A fine run by Martin Pilkington saw him eventually blocked out with the rebound falling to Jay Gorton, who was narrowly off target from 25 yards, before Pilkington challenged Kennedy for a loose ball which lead to Gee’s effort being blocked for a corner.
Full back Leesley’s ball to the far post picked out Holland who miscontrolled the chance before a good run from White from halfway saw him outmuscle Coo, only to be denied by a last gasp save from Phillips. The Robins were back on the attack as Coo’s long ball was headed out and caught cleanly on the volley by Pilkington but directed straight at Kennedy.
With conditions worsening in the persistent rain the second period was a forgettable affair with a real lack of clear opportunities. Grayson’s cross for the Gladiators was flicked past the far post by Holland before Coppin’s long cross/shot drifted wide. The home side then went closest to breaking the deadlock as Chris Lynch was yellow carded for a foul 22 yards out which lead to Harcourt firing a tremendous free kick goalwards which Phillips could only parry on to the top of the crossbar – the ball dropping, only to be handled in by McMahon, who was also cautioned.
Gorton’s knockdown then saw O’Neill (pictured) have his effort blocked and Harcourt’s header from Gregory’s corner drifted wide as honours finished even to give Ashton a valuable point from a difficult away fixture.
Team: Phillips, Coo, Pearson, Higgins, Lynch, Gorton, Gee, Young (Rick), O’Neill, Pilkington (Chadwick), Coppin (Killeen). SNU: Richardson, Halford.