Two penalties either side of half time proved not to be enough, as Chadderton suffered a disappointing 3-2 home defeat at the hands of Ashton Town on Saturday afternoon.
Despite the efforts of Jordan Matthew and skipper Jack Turnbull, it was an impressive match-winning performance of Ashton’s debutant Daniel McLoughlin that condemned Chaddy to defeat. The winger capped a fine individual display by sealing his hat-trick in the 87th minute ensuring the Wiganers secured maximum points.
There was a positive atmosphere at the ARK Fleetech stadium, with the club celebrating this year's Non-League Day, along with the jubilation of the 1-0 victory in mid-week against local rivals Avro remaining strong in the memory.
After Tuesday’s triumph, Fish opted to stick with his guns making only one change to his side. It was Daniel Cryer who replaced Leon Iluobe in the side after impressing in the cup against Avro. Ashton also came into the game with high confidence following their 2-1 win against Burscough in the Liverpool County FA Cup.
Both sides mid-week heroics were telling in the opening ten minutes of the game, with a high number of misplaced passes and an inability of either side to keep the ball. However, as the tie went on, it started to become a more open contest sparking chances for both sides.
It was Chadderton that struck first blood, after Will Shawcross and Joe Richards combined down the left flank. The latter threaded a fantastic through ball to striker Jack Turnbull who rounded Ashton stopper Thomas Goodwin but was brought down in the area by the keeper.
The responsibility of dispatching the penalty, lay once again with Matthew who scored his second penalty in a week by sending Goodwin the wrong way to put Chaddy in control.
However, the lead lasted just six minutes as Chaddy failed to clear their lines, with the ball falling to the back-post for McLoughlin to drive a superbly struck half-volley into the top corner beyond Hadlow to equalise for the visitors.
Chadderton defender Devon Matthews was again impressive, marshalling threatening Town striker Matthew Johnson as Ashton pushed forward. Chadderton seemed to be struggling in the midfield battle with Dillan O’Connor being dispossessed, leading to James Ludgate attempting an audacious chip from 30 yards out that nearly caught Hadlow out but dropped wide.
Turnbull fired over for Chaddy, before Henry Gaskill was presented with free header in the middle for Ashton but couldn’t convert on the stroke of half-time as the sides went in level at the break.
Fish decided to shuffle the pack after the interval with James Dwyer back from serving a suspension came on in place of Joe Richards. Chadderton started the second half much brighter, with Shawcross again in the thick of the action showing some nice touches.
Cryer was brought down through on goal by Ashton skipper Jack Richards but was only shown a yellow card by the referee. Things then got worse for Chaddy as Hadlow could only push Bradley Smart’s free-kick away into the path of McLoughlin who tapped in his second of the day.
In an attempt to rescue a point, Fish brought on Nathan Connor and Iluobe for Matthew and Cryer. Dwyer on his return to the fold almost levelled after beating Goodwin to the ball but could only head wide.
Chadderton started to build the pressure and earned themselves another chance from twelve yards in the 83rd minute after the threatening Iluobe was brought down after skipping through the Ashton defence. With usual taker Mathew being off the field, captain Turnbull stepped up to draw his side level beating Goodwin from the spot.
This setup a crazy last 5 minutes of the game as both sides looked to take all three points. Chadderton twice went close with the excellent Shawcross dancing through Town’s defence demonstrating superb close control but couldn’t apply the finish firing straight at Goodwin. Next to try his luck was the substitute Connor who headed towards goal but his effort was cleared off the line.
Despite the promising signs, it was Ashton who took all the points with Chaddy switching off at the back allowing McLoughlin to slot home to complete his hat-trick and cap of a memorable debut for the winger.
However, the drama didn’t end there as Chaddy thought they had rescued a point in the last minute of stoppage time. Chadderton desperately looking for a point sent Hadlow up for a corner causing panic in the Ashton box. However, it was Connor who volleyed in at the back-post for his first goal in four years, only to be denied by the offside flag capping a frustrating day for The Reds.
Chadderton: Hadlow, Riley, Richards, Butterworth, Tayo, Matthews, O’Connor, Matthew, Cryer, Turnbull (C), Shawcross.
Subs: Connor, Dwyer, Iluobe.
Ashton Town: Goodwin, Atkinson, Gaskill, Saunders, Richards (C), Ludgate, McLoughlin, Chambers, Johnson, Smart, Edgerton.
Subs: Shield, Cushion, McGrath, Campbell, Dempsey.
Goalscorers: Chadderton – Matthew (17’) Turnbull (83’) | Ashton Town – McLoughlin (23’, 58’, 87’)
Report by Matt Wood