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Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Ashton United

Tomsett (90)

Hednesford Town

Lawrie (12), Oji (76)

(0) 1

(1) 2



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Ben Bailey


Matlock Town (H) 3.10.17

The Pitmen offered the perfect response to the criticism directed at them this week, turning in one of their best performances of the season to beat Ashton United this afternoon and claim a crucial three points


Back-to-back defeats had left Rob Smith and Larry Chambers with something of a selection headache as they looked to arrest an alarming slide in form. They made the bold move to play three centre-halves, bringing in Sam Oji in place of Callum Bullock, who had returned to parent club Chorley this week. With the squad stretched to it's limit, Smith could only name four substitutes for the match which included veteran goalkeeper Jose Veiga


Ashton - normally quick starters in the league and amongst the top six in the first few weeks of the season - had made an uncharacteristically ponderous start to the campaign, sitting in mid-table at the start of play. They suffered a blow just before kick-off with the news that regular keeper Ashley Frith had pulled up with injury, forcing the host to hand young reserve keeper Max Povey a full debut


A nervy opening two minutes from the Pitmen saw them give the ball away in alarmingly dangerous positions on two occasions allowing Danny Pilkington to hit the outside of the post with his shot, followed by a great save from James Wren in the third minute to turn the same player's cross-cum-shot away from goal


The Pitmen responded well, with Povey called into action for the first time to smother a James Lawrie shot after Edji Mbunga had intercepted a poor clearance from Josh Granite and played the midfielder in


Another misplaced pass from the Ashton defence contributed heavily to the opening goal of an overcast afternoon at Hurst Cross as a poor clearance from Aaron Chalmers was seized upon by Danny Glover, whose slide-rule pass in behind the Ashton defence and into the path of Lawrie, who finished well with a driven shot across Povey and into the far corner of the net


Lawrie should have made it a quickfire double for himself and the Pitmen on eighteen minutes, firing in a low drive that Povey did well to turn away. Mbunga seized upon the rebound but failed to turn the ball home as Povey recovered well


Striker partners Glover and Mbunga were giving the Ashton back line the runaround the opening quarter of the game, with both players somehow failing to add to the scoreline on twenty-three minutes as a combination of last-ditch defending and poor finishing kept the score at 1-0


The chances kept coming for the men in grey, with Glover again at the heart of the attacking intent. A quick break on thirty-one minutes caught the Ashton defence out, with Glover seeing his shot deflected wide of goal


Skipper Tom Thorley attempted to get in on the act on thirty-four minutes, but his long-range shot ended up in amongst the hardy Hednesford supporters gathered behind the goal


Glover should have done better when presented with a great chance on thirty-seven minutes, but weakly headed Tyler Weir's cross wide of goal from only eight yards out


Former Curzon Ashton man Liam Tomsett wasted Ashton's best chance of a poor first half on forty-three minutes, side-footing his shot narrowly wide of goal after getting on the end of a cross from Mark Lees


The impressive Mbunga should have put the Pitmen out of sight with the first attack of the second half as he raced clear of a static Ashton defence but dithered as he approached goal and allowed Povey enough time to make a save


Mbunga's Gloucester colleague Reece King was next to test Ashton's resolve on fifty-one minutes, with the midfielder hitting a long-range shot that flew just wide of goal


Mbunga's game was brought to an end on sixty-eight minutes, as he was replaced with the more defensively minded Joe Fitzpatrick to leave Glover up front on his own with Lawrie drifting in from the left


With sixteen minutes remaining, Lawrie should have wrapped up all three points for the Pitmen but somehow headed wide of goal with a flick header from an Alex Melbourne cross


The away side finally got the second goal that their efforts deserved two minutes later as a Thorley corner kick dropped in the six-yard box, with Oji reacting quickest to turn the ball home from close range


Chalmers' game was brought to a painful end with a couple of minutes remaining, as he did brilliantly to halt Thorley's charge towards goal, but damaged himself in the process after sliding in and was taken off after a lengthy spell of treatment


As Chalmers was being carried off the pitch, Ashton gave themselves a lifeline with a late, late goal through Tomsett; Chadwick's deep corner was not cleared by the Hednesford defence, which had been superbly marshalled by Ben Bailey, allowing Tomsett to turn the loose ball home at the far post


it was too little, too late though for the hosts, with the Pitmen left to celebrate a well-deserved three points and only their second away win of the new season. The games continue to come thick and fast for Smith and Chambers as they continue to find out about their squad, starting on Tuesday night with the visit of Matlock Town


Ashton United: Povey, Olapede (Banim 85), Smalley, Granite, Chalmers (Woodford 90), Platt, Lees, Tomsett, Johnson, Pilkington (Durnin 70), Chadwick   Unused subs: Roberts


Hednesford Town: Wren, Melbourne, Weir, Bailey, Mutton, Oji, King, Thorley ©, Glover , Mbunga (Fitzpatrick 68), Lawrie   Unused subs: Lyttle, Platt, Veiga

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