By David Robinson
The two teams promoted from the Northern Premier League in 2018 met at Hurst Cross and the paths they have followed since then were apparent in the scoreline.
Captain Jake Moult started by heading Dan Mooney’s deep corner past the far post and Chris Rowney then steered a pull back over the top for the hosts.
On 18 minutes a mix up between centre backs Sam Baird and Harry Coates allowed ex-Ashton winger Mooney to lob the opening goal over Greg Hartley.
Coates had sustained a nasty head injury having to be replaced by Michael Raynes and taken to hospital before Josh Hancock side footed straight at Hartley from Matty Kosylo’s cross following a quick break.
Ryan Colclough drove a 25 yard free kick narrowly wide and saw another speculative shot held despite an awkward bounce.
The second period opened with Mooney steering over the top after a good build up before a great run ended with him firing straight at the keeper.
Colclough was then able to double the lead at the second attempt from Joel Senior’s pass and sub Tom Peers hit the side netting picking up Harvey Macadam’s misplaced pass.
Ben Hardcastle forced a decent near post save and sub Luke Wall’s follow up was palmed away and Macadam came closer still as his effort rebounded off the right hand post with the ball then turned home from a offside position.
Alty replacement Fisayo Adarabioyo was set free down the left wing and saw his dipping effort clip the crossbar but Peers then burst through a challenge and was brought down by Hartley who managed to turn the resulting penalty away.
Ashton Utd: Hartley, Azam, Spratt, Coates, Baird, Sheridan, Hardcastle, Rowney, Bentham, Redshaw, Macadam. Subs: Warren, Cottam, Wall, Tomsett, Tserpes, Whalley, Raynes, Wood.