Bring on the Play Offs
Ashton nail a play off place barring a mathematical miracle. Report by David Robinson
On a pitch looking in fine condition given the late stage of the season Ashton consolidated their place in the playoffs, barring a mathematical miracle, with a fine victory over their closest rivals Skelmersdale. After a long throw in had come back for Ashley Young to fire too high they got off to the best possible start and went ahead on 8 minutes as Young won the ball in the air and a flick on by Dale Johnson set leading scorer Martin Pilkington free to beat Hibbert for the opening goal.
Dunn then beat the offside trap for the visitors but was tackled by Phillips in the home goal before another superb left wing cross by Kayde Coppin was somehow helped over the bar by Pilkington and then McCarthy also beat the home defence and his driven cross was cleared by Chris Lynch straight to Strickland who fired wide from 6 yards when scoring looked a formality. Young’s deep corner was headed wide at the far post by Chris Lynch and then some great play by Garry Gee saw him put in a cross which Pilkington controlled but was just unable to poke beyond Hibbert. Ashton were able to extend their advantage on 42 minutes with the same combination responsible for the first goal – Johnson turning past 3 defenders before giving Pilkington an unmissable chance in front of goal.
Skelmersdale were back in the argument directly after the break as Miller volleyed home a superb effort after a bout of head tennis in the home defence and Strickland could have done better from a left wing cross which evaded Greg Pearson but was crowded out, and the same player fired too high when the ball broke back to him. Johnson – choosing the most important match of the season to turn in one of his best performances - carved out another clear chance for Young who was denied by the goalkeeper who also turned aside Lee Rick’s follow up.
The home side settled the crowd’s nerves with a quarter of an hour left as Pilkington twisted and turned his way to the by-line before firing a cross which gave captain Chris Lynch a tap in and Dale Johnson got the goal his performance deserved after substitutes Chadwick and Kosylo combined to set him up and ensure Ashton’s season will continue beyond their last home game next Saturday.
Team: Phillips, Lynch, Pearson, Gorton, Higgins, Young, Chalmers (Chadwick), Gee, Johnson, Pilkington (Kosylo), Coppin (Rick). SNU: Haslam, Baguley