Eighth straight win lifts Robins to fourth with games in hand. Report by David Robinson.
Ashton scaled new heights with their eighth successive league victory moving them up to fourth place in the division. The visitors from Derbyshire had plenty of possession in the first half but their lack of a cutting edge was reflected in their goals scored total which is one of the lowest in the league. The rampant Robins carried on where they left off against Droylsden taking the lead after only 4 minutes as talisman Matty Chadwick cut in from his right wing position and provided another stunning top corner finish after swapping passes with Dale Johnson.
The bucks almost hit back immediately as Hazel played Thornhill in on the left hand side of the area but Phillips was quickly off his line in the heavy conditions. Greg Pearson then cut inside and his through ball found Pilkington firing over the top before Buxton won a free kick just outside the area which Ryan curled too high. A fine move by Ashton saw Pilkington just denied at the last by left back Green.
Midway through the half and Thornhill’s effort on the turn squeezed just wide before the same player couldn’t get any power behind his shot as he fell to ground. Shortly afterwards there was more evidence of the growing understanding between Dale Johnson and Pilkington as they exchanged passes before the latter fired disappointingly wide. The Bucks then produced a fine move which ended with Harris’s effort being blocked by Higgins, who was having another towering game at the back, and Pilkington then played Johnson into space but his left foot effort was just denied by keeper Warrington.
Half time was approaching as the ball reached Chadwick, whose effort was deflected wide for a corner. The corner reached Gorton on the edge of the area who provided a right foot finish on the volley which any forward would have been proud of.
The game settled into a more sedate tempo after the break which was quite understandable with persistent rain making the conditions heavier by the minute. Buxton could have pulled a goal back as Black’s corner was headed narrowly wide of the far post by Harris before Pilkington picked up a loose ball but was denied at the near post.
With 20 minutes left Johnson set his strike partner free again and Pilkington saw his right foot effort touched on to the post by Warrington, before sub Reed’s header from Black’s cross was held by Phillips. Kayde Coppin then set up Rick who sliced his shot well wide and Johnson got free once more but placed his pass too far ahead of Joe O’Neill.
Hazel made a final attempt for the Bucks with his good run in the area denied at the last by Phillips and the action ended with Lee Rick hammering a free kick over the top.
Team: Phillips, Lynch, Pearson, Gorton, Higgins, Young, Chadwick (Rick), Gee, Pilkington (O’Neill), Johnson, Coppin (Coo). SNU: Halford, Steadman