The Long & Winding Road!
A last gasp winner puts 'The Robins' through to the next round of the FA Cup. Report by David Robinson.
Ashton moved into the 2nd Qualifying Round of the FA Cup after a dramatic second half at the Dual Seal Stadium. They had the lion’s share of the possession in the first period and went closest when Kayde Coppin returned a ball into the area which found Hazel just failing to turn the defence but Jack Higgins’ header was then picked up by Hazel whose fierce left foot effort was beaten out by Giles. Roberts-Nurse was next to try his luck as he picked up Robinson’s layback and stepped past a defender before firing his effort just too high.
Town then sprayed the ball wide to Leon Henry whose cross was palmed out unconvincingly by stand-in keeper Cook and the resulting corner reached Melling who shot straight at the Ashton keeper. A forward pass from Ashley Young then found midfield partner Gary Gee beating the cover but his cross was just too high for Richard Bennett before Haslam under hit a back pass needing Cook to be quickly off his line to deny Henry.
Ashton really began to assert themselves after the interval and a fine run by Hazel took him past 2 defenders and to the by-line where his cross reached Coppin whose pull back saw Young’s effort blocked, and before the ball could be properly cleared Higgins’ pass was well controlled by Bennett who manoeuvred the ball onto his left side and struck the crossbar from 20 yards. The Robins again came close to making the breakthrough as Hazel set up substitute Chris Baguley whose effort came back off the underside of the bar, but against the run of play a long ball forward picked out Hall who beat the advancing Cook to give the hosts a shock lead.
With time running out and all 3 substitutes used Ashton continued to press for the equaliser and they were rewarded with 13 minutes left as Pilkington cut inside before hitting the left hand post, the rebound being knocked home by fellow sub Matty Chadwick. Pilkington then knocked a great ball forward to send Baguley running into the area but he lifted his effort too high. With the game entering added time and both sides searching for the winner a long corner saw Thornton touch the ball against the outside of the post for Brighouse before the tie was settled as Chadwick’s cross was cleared to Young who took his time before scoring off the right hand post to send Ashton into the next round.
Team: Cook, Haslam, Roberts-Nurse, Gorton, Higgins, Young, Coppin, Gee, Bennett (Chadwick), Hazel (Pilkington) & Robinson (Baguley).
SNU: Rick, Henderson, Coo & Halford.