Robins' Cup Woes Continue
Ashton crash out on penalties. Report by David Robinson.
Ashton crashed out of their final cup competition of the season at Hurst Cross as visitors Salford avenged their FA Cup defeat. With both sides fielding strong line ups the game got off to an open start with the linesmens’ flags dominating the opening quarter of an hour. The FA Cup match winner Mark Haslam created the first chance for Ashton as he set up Richard Bennett to blaze wide from 15 yards.
A couple of minutes later the Ammies took the lead as a square ball across the Ashton backline saw Jack Higgins caught in possession allowing Gareth Seddon to cleverly lob the stranded Phillips.
Webber was almost able to release Lee Neville with his pass just being cut out by Robbie Williams and then Chris Baguley’s pass freed Brad Robinson who beat the offside trap but hesitated at the vital moment allowing the defence to clear. Just prior to the interval the best move of the half saw Hibbs collect Seddon’s return pass for Salford but he then put a glorious chance over the bar.
Ashton made a couple of changes at the start of the second half and Lee Rick’s corner saw Higgins’ header cleared to Robinson who shot over the top from 20 yards and just before the hour mark Ashton came closest to the equaliser as Gary Gee released Scott Harries whose cross brought a downward header out of Bennett with Guthrie pulling off a fine save.
Ashton continued their search for the equaliser and Bennett’s cross deflected to Harries who had a good low effort saved before the final substitute Mukendi knocked home Rick’s cross from an offside position but within 5 minutes Mukendi this time beat the linesman’s flag from Rick’s chipped pass and slotted a calm finish past Guthrie. Salford almost grabbed the winner as Neville sped down the left wing and his cross found Webber bringing the best out of Phillips with a low save. The penalty shootout saw the first 9 kicks confidently converted before Greg Pearson became the unlucky man, Guthrie’s save good enough to send the visitors into the next round.
Team: Phillips, Haslam, Pearson, Williams, Higgins, Shaw (Rick), Roberts-Nurse, Gee, Bennett, Baguley (Harries) & Robinson (Mukendi).
SNU: Coppin & Young.