Report by David Robinson.
Ashton completed their first double of the season with a deserved victory over the Gingerbreads in an ultimately disappointing encounter. On a difficult bouncy pitch control was at a premium and the flow of the game wasn’t helped by the running track surrounding the pitch meaning that the ball spent a lot of time being retrieved.
Greg Pearson almost played Ashton into trouble with just 2 minutes gone as his short back pass saw Phillips having to narrow the angle to deny Smith. Home keeper Haystead then let a long ball through his hands but the angle was too narrow for Joe O’Neill and then Ashton’s centre forward had the ball taken off his toe by Lister as he picked up Johnson’s through ball.
Paul Phillips then caught a long cross and was then forced over the line by centre forward Smith who was booked as a result before the best move of the half saw O’Neill spread the ball wide to Young whose cross went narrowly wide off Johnson’s midriff before Johnson himself rounded the keeper but saw his pullback headed wide by Chadwick and the best chance of the half saw Johnson beat the offside trap but put his effort past the far post.
After the break the ball rebounded into the area to Johnson who fired wide of the near post before Lynch was fouled 22 yards out and Johnson put the free kick comfortably over the bar. For the home side a long throw reached Foster at the back post whose weak attempt went straight at Phillips before just before the hour mark Garry Gee made a great run from midfield before exchanging passes with Johnson and firing home confidently, a move out of keeping with much of the rest of the play.
At this point the Robins were relatively untroubled and started to dominate the possession as Ashley Young put a fine left foot shot just over from 20 yards. As Grantham attempt to find the equaliser a ball into the area found Jackson whose layoff saw substitute Lewis unable to test Phillips and their final attempt saw McGhee’s 20 yard effort comfortably held by Phillips to give Ashton their third successive league victory.
Team: Phillips, Lynch (Coo), Pearson, Gorton, Higgins, Gee, Chadwick, (Rick), Young, O’Neill, Johnson, (Pilkington), Coppin. SNU: Halford.