Ashton fight back to defeat rebels
Report by David Robinson
Ashton gave their supporters a belated Christmas present with a fine fight back to defeat the Rebels in an entertaining encounter at Hurst Cross. The visitors were first to threaten as Woolfenden fired his effort straight into Phillips’ midriff before Garry Gee made a great run onto Coo’s pass before his effort was touched away by Wilczynski, who also held the resulting corner.
Woolfenden then just failed to control Birch’s through ball before his cross was tipped over by Phillips. Ashley Young then gave the ball away to Stott whose cross was side footed straight at Phillips by Norton, before Fox cut inside Coo and set up Greaves, whose effort was deflected wide for a corner which appeared to be headed against the foot of the post by Raglan. Within sight of the interval the rebels took the lead as Greaves’ seemingly harmless effort from outside the area bobbled up off Phillips and on to the crossbar to leave Norton with an unmissable chance.
After the restart a quick break saw Norton’s cross headed too high by Fox before Matty Chadwick came off the bench to pick up Coo’s pass and bring a fine save out of Wilczynski with a swerving left foot effort – the resulting corner saw centre backs Gorton and Higgins combine before the former’s header was cleared off the line. FC’s substitute Daniels then saw his cross fired wide by Norton under pressure from Higgins and Phillips picked out Chadwick with a quick free kick but the winger was just denied.
Chadwick was having a great impact on the game at this point and he put in a fine cross which somehow evaded Johnson before FC missed the chance to double their advantage as a slick move saw Byrne and Daniels exchange passes before Byrne hit the bar with a snap shot. This was to prove crucial as Ashton turned the game around with 2 goals in a five minute spell, the first when Johnson’s flick saw Chadwick’s overhead kick handled off the line by Davies who was red carded leaving Gee to convert his fifth penalty of the season despite the best efforts of Wilczynski and the post.
With 5 minutes left a grandstand finish was ensured as a corner reached Johnson in the area who touched the ball home after a brief scramble and Ashton were able to hold on to all 3 points despite Walwyn’s effort as he cut inside but steered his effort wide of the near post.
Team: Phillips, Coo, Pearson, Gorton, Higgins, Young, Rick (Chadwick), Gee, O’Neill (Pilkington) Johnson, Coppin. SNU: Halford, Steadman, Lynch