Ashton United 2-4 Marine
Mariners in pole again after Hurst Cross thriller...
Match report by Dave McMillan
Marine went back to the top of the Evo-Stik Premier Division table on Wednesday night, as they beat Ashton United 4-2 in an exciting game at Hurst Cross.
This was probably Marine’s toughest examination of the season to date, a lively Robins side putting them under pressure particularly in the second half, but the Crosby side ruthlessly capitalised on two goalkeeping errors added to two fabulous strikes to take the points.
Ashton were a different proposition to the eleven which had succumbed tamely in the recent FA Cup meeting, Stephen Johnson and Mark Peers posing problems down the flanks as the home side twice hit the woodwork.
Marine had plenty of goal threat too, an attacking line up including Andy Fowler, Marcus Carver, Nick Rogan and Karl Noon always likely to be dangerous with several further chances created to add to the four goals that were bagged.
The hosts were almost in the lead with the first real attack of the game, Aaron Burns finding space in the box to thump a shot against the foot of Ryan McMahon’s post.
As so often happens the let off proved crucial as the Mariners quickly raced in to a two goal lead, Andy Fowler collecting a quickly taken free kick before unleashing a great strike from 25 yards, giving Paul Phillips no chance as it rocketed in to the top corner of his net on 10 minutes.
Six minutes later the second arrived, Shaun Dowling’s lofted pass leading to a race between Rogan and Phillips with the keeper misjudging the bounce, to leave the Marine man the task of firing in to the unguarded net under pressure from a defender.
McMahon beat away a strong drive from Burns, with centre back Craig Robinson also having to be stopped illegally as he went on a direct run as the home side tried to find a way back in to the game.
Carver got to the goal line for the Yellows and put a cross in, Rogan dummying for Noon to shoot with Phillips producing a good block.
Ashton reduced the deficit on 36 minutes, Johnson crossing from the left for Mulholland to convert a tidy finish from close range.
The Crosby side restored their two goal cushion within seconds of the start of the second half, a move down the right teeing up Jon Goulding to volley a fantastic strike past a rooted Phillips, a great goal from the mop topped midfield maestro.
The flurry of goals continued as the Robins came back strongly, the ball pinging around the Marine area after a corner and falling to Burns to volley home through a ruck of players after 50 minutes.
Ashton looked the more likely scorers now with Johnson putting a shot narrowly wide, the Marine defence having to work hard to keep them out as they pressed for an equaliser.
A free kick was the closest United came, Tom Baker swinging the ball over with Burns not being able to get enough on it, deflecting it on to the outside of the post.
It was Marine though who got the last goal of the game, substitute Thomas Moore closing down Phillips as he shaped to clear with an awful bobble bamboozling him, to leave the visiting striker an open goal to walk the ball home and wrap up the points.
Ashton United: Paul Phillips, Alex Frost, Danny Caldecott (Matty Burke 88), Warren Beattie (Chris Baguley 82), Craig Robinson, Chris Lynch (Cap), Mark Peers, Tom Baker, Aaron Burns, Astley Mulholland (Matty Kosylo 60), Stephen Johnson.
Unused subs: Kyle Harrop, Jordan Hadfield. Cautions: Robinson.
Marine: Ryan McMahon (Cap), Shaun Dowling, John Shaw, Matty Brown, Danny Grannon, Robbie Lawton, Andy Fowler (Alan Burton 73), Jonathan Goulding, Marcus Carver, Nick Rogan (Thomas Moore 73), Karl Noon (Liam Dawson 62).
Unused subs: Paul Lundon, Michael Ordish. Cautions: Dowling, Moore.
Referee: Mr. Nicholas Barnard; Assistants Mr. Andrew Coop, Mr. Ian Woodward.