Robins just fail to deny Rebels

Ashton United 1 FC United of Manchester 2 BetVictor Northern Premier League 28.12.19

Ashton were cruelly denied a share of the points as a last minute goal by the League’s leading scorer Tunde Owolabi saw the high-flying visitors leave a vibrant Hurst Cross with all 3 points. Ashton were handing full debuts to goalkeeper Greg Hartley and left back Stephen Rigby with Craig Mahon also on loan on the left wing and the action started with Ben Hardcastle’s cross deflected for a corner from which Josh Wilson’s volley was held under the bar by Cameron Belford.

Hardcaste then had an even better chance as a rebound put him clean through on Belford who effected the block and a long ball then saw Sam Sheridan bring down Owolabi just outside the area with Paul Ennis’ free kick fisted away. Mahon took too many touches when collecting Hardcastle’s cross and a mix up in the home defence saw Curran shoot straight at Harltey. Lufudu then saved Ashton as he cleared Ennis’s cross from a corner from which Sikora sent a flashing header off target. Wilson and Owolabi both had goals ruled out for offside and handball respectively and just before the break a quick move saw Wilson’s cross shot just evade Michael Brewster at the far post.

3 minutes into the second period Owolabi should have headed the visitors in front but saw his header from 6 yards out from Regan Linney’s cross cannon back off the crossbar with Curran’s follow up blocked. Hardcastle then forced a save from a narrow angle and Lufudu squeezed his way along the by line and saw his cross cleared to Tames who placed his attempt over. With a quarter of an hour remaining the deadlock was broken as Linney was fouled by Brewster at the by line with the winger tucking the penalty away and Greg Hartley then had to be alert in the home goal as Potts’ lofted pass saw Owolabi clean through.

3 minutes from time and the Robins thought they had rescued a point as Lufudu’s overlapping cross was volleyed home from near the penalty spot by sub Aaron Smith but the action then switched to the other end as Stephen Rigby saw red for bringing down Finlay Sinclair-Smith and with the ball not properly cleared the return delivery was touched home close in by Owolabi.

Ashton Utd: Hartley, Lufudu, Rigby, Rowney (Smith 82), Hunt, Sheridan, Hardcastle, Brewster, Wilson, Tomsett (Tames 63), Mahon (Pritchard 68). SNU: Tserpes, Obeng.

David Robinson