Ashton Consolidate Play Off Spot
Report by David Robinson
Ashton consolidated their place in the play off positions with an ultimately comfortable victory over already relegated Stocksbridge. The first half remained goalless with the task in hand looking somewhat more difficult than on paper as the hosts gave as good as they got. The Robins almost got off to a flyer as Ashley Young’s neat flick was lobbed over Scott by Dale Johnson but also cleared the crossbar, and on 8 minutes Lee Rick’s layoff saw Johnson’s driven cross put wide of the near post by Garry Gee from inside the 6 yard box.
Phillips was then penalised for handling outside the area but Hamshaw put the free kick well over the top and Aaron Chalmers at the back post just failed to make contact with Rick’s free kick. Steels almost took the lead as Telling’s effort from the edge of the area was deflected just wide with Phillips apparently beaten, and South was then played into the clear but took too long and saw his shot deflected wide. Ashton’s best move of the half almost saw them take the lead as Johnson’s flick sent Garry Gee into the area to bring a point blank save out of Scott.
The visitors made the best possible start after the resumption and within 7 minutes Pearson’s ball forward found Martin Pilkington turning past Haigh before the leading scorer comfortably found the bottom corner. Only 5 minutes later the game was safe as Pilkington set up winger Matty Chadwick for a fine left foot finish inside the area. Ashton could have extended their advantage as Johnson just failed to convert Coppin’s cross and Young’s corner was fisted off the goal line by Scott.
Coppin, making an impact as a substitute, provided another cross which again just lacked the finishing touch from Johnson and his next delivery was just too long for Chadwick. Stocksbridge’s vain attempts to get back into the game saw Smith picking up a rebounded header and firing just wide from 25 yards before Telling set up Hamshaw to provide Phillips with an easy save and then Johnson’s flick put Pilkington clear only to slice wide of the near post. Chadwick almost had the last word as Gee won the ball in midfield but he was denied at the near post and there was a similar outcome as Haslam set the winger up.
Team: Phillips, Chalmers, Pearson Gorton, Higgins, Young, Rick (Chadwick), Gee, Johnson, Pilkington (Haslam), Chippendale (Coppin). SNU: Ellison, Halford.