First Blow to Rebels
Potential rematch with higher stakes set for 8 days time? Report by David Robinson
Ashton went down to a last minute goal in the Rebels’ last ever scheduled game at Gigg Lane but not before they had put down a marker ahead of a potential rematch in the play offs. Despite showing several line up changes the visitors got off to another fast start as captain Chris Lynch headed home Chris Baguley’s corner in the opening minute and the Robins went on to dominate the rest of the first period in front of a crowd of over 3000.
Shortly after the opening goal Lee Rick’s cross had Carnell worried but drifted wide and Brownhill put in a decent cross for FC which Norton glanced wide before Matty Chadwick and Dale Johnson combined before the former’s shot was blocked. Baguley then ran onto Johnson’s flick but Carnell was just quick enough off his line before a quick clearance by Phillips saw Johnson hold the ball up before playing in Ashley Young whose cutback saw Chadwick make it 2-0. The rebels attempted to hit back as Stott hit a fine effort from 25 yards which Phillips pushed away and from the return ball Norton just failed to get enough contact on Byrne’s cross.
With the home side clearly rattled former Robin Astley Mulholland replaced Jones but it was Ashton who came closest after the break as Johnson played in Chadwick who cut inside before finding the side netting. At the other end Woolfenden reached the by-line but saw his cross touched wide of the near post by Tom Greaves. A long cross then reached Mike Norton who was denied at the last by Phillips and Woolfenden’s cross was then intercepted by Higgins as the home side’s pressure mounted.
FC found a lifeline just past the hour as Mulholland’s fine cross saw Phillips produce a fantastic save from Norton, the rebound falling for Greaves to knock home. A long ball forward then fell to Woolfenden who controlled in the area before firing over from a great position but the equaliser duly arrived with 20 minutes left as a long clearance by Carnell saw Brownhill run in behind Higgins and provide a cross which was touched home by Norton.
With 90 minutes showing on the clock Ashton were unable to hold out as Brownhill’s corner was headed home by the substitute Daniels and Phillips’ clearance fell to Woolfenden who lobbed just wide of the open goal.
Team: Phillips, Coo (Chalmers), Pearson, Lynch, Higgins, Young, Rick, Gee, Johnson, Baguley (Pilkington), Chadwick (Coppin) SNU: Kosylo, Haslam