Friday Night Action and Another Three Points
The Bears played their first Friday night game for a long time and were without the suspended Griffith and unavailable Morris but included new signing Saul Henderson on the bench.
The game started in a fairly even style with both sides knocking the ball around well but creating few chances. The Bears were guilty of over hitting passes as they played down the slope with a breeze behind them. The home side created a couple of early chances, with balls going across the goal but finding no one. Dean Warburton came close with a shot from 25 yards which clipped the defenders head and cleared the bar. Strong running from Mini Adegbenro caused problems for the Ashton defence, but the final ball was not finding a man.
Matthew Jamieson and Tom Stephens were playing well at the heart of the Bears defence and got excellent blocks in a couple of times. Smith for Ashton had a clear chance on the half hour, but, unmarked at the back post, he miss-hit his shot and it went harmlessly wide.
The Bears were forced into an early substitution when Bev Burey replaced the limping Billy Hasler-Cregg. Burey almost made an immediate impact with a strong run, but with just the keeper to beat, Pearson got the block in. Ashton had the ball in the net on 40 late in the half from a rebound from a great Craig Ellison save, but the flag was up. Dom Williams then put in a strong challenge at the back to keep Gilchrist out.
The deadlock was broken in added time. A pass back to Pearson in the Ashton goal saw Dan Cope close him down, his kicked clearance bounced back off the Bears striker, who turned, picked it up, dribbled along the goal line and stroked it into the empty net.
Half Time Ashton Athletic 0-1 Congleton Town
The second half saw Ashton create early chances with Nicholson and Gilchrist firing wide after good pressure from Rick Peters and Williams. Cope had a chance on the hour with a free kick just outside the box after Tom Schofield was brought down, but the Ashton wall did its job.
The Bears had a couple of strong penalty shouts when first Adegbenro and then Cope were brought down, but nothing was given. New signing Saul Henderson came on as a 70th minute sub, replacing Cope. Ashton continued to probe the Bears defence and Ellison was called on to make a smart save from a free-kick.
On 80 minutes the Bears got their second goal. A free kick from Schofield was floated to the far post, Pearson flapped at it and the ball dropped to Peters who knocked it across goal and Henderson had an easy tap in from two feet.
More Ashton pressure saw a header just over the bar but it was the Bears who made the game safe on 83 minutes. Burey picked up the ball deep in the Bears half, he played a superb pass down the line to Steve Foster who flicked it inside to Henderson, his shot looped up off a defender and over Pearson and into the net.The Bears then controlled the final minutes and Ashton found it hard to create anything.
Full Time: Ashton Athletic 0-3 Congleton Town
Team: Ellison, Williams, Peters, Jamieson, Stephens, Schofield, Hasler-Cregg (Burey 33), Warburton, Cope (Henderson 70), Foster, Adegbenro (Disney 86)
Unused subs: Main, Cooke
This was a solid performance from the Bears against an Ashton side who played some good football and the final scoreline was probably a little harsh on them.
This weekend the Bears are in Macron League Cup action when the travel to Division One South side Stone Dominoes.