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Young Reds shade it for an Ashton double

Ashton Athletic returned to St Bride’s Field for a league meeting, just three weeks after being humbled in a Neil Thomason Memorial Cup Tie.

Keen to improve on their showing, they made four changes and included players with North West Counties Premier Division experience. The effect was a game that was much more evenly contested, but a win for FC United all the same, this time by two goals to one.

The first half passed with a flurry of half chances for both sides as and when the ball broke from a competitive midfield battle but neither goal was seriously threatened. Ashton had the best chance of the half when awarded a free kick on the edge of the box and Chris Francis shot up and over the wall but narrowly wide. FC keeper Grant Shenton strode so nonchalantly to collect the ball and take the goal kick that nobody was sure whether he had been comprehensively beaten or had, Schmeichel like left it to its fate. He was equally cool five minutes later when tidying up his own block after Ashton had broken through the FC defence.

The watching FC support were convinced that a penalty would be given on the stroke of half time, when Toby Iloba broke into the box and went down under pressure. The referee, who was much closer decided otherwise; a verdict confirmed by the player himself after the whistle had blown.

The first FC goal didn’t come until midway through the second half, but was one that had to be seen to be believed. Jamie Mack won the ball in midfield before bursting down the left wing. His path seemed to be blocked by the Ashton full back on the edge of the box, so he decided to try and beat him for pace on the outside. As he seemed to run out of room on reaching the goal line he managed to get a cross in. This was instantly volleyed home with an overhead kick by Gage Eme.

Ashton equalised with fifteen minutes to go when a goal kick was fired straight up the middle of the pitch. John Buckley, in a rare misjudgement got underneath the ball and headed it backwards, Chris Francis gleefully pounced on the error and ran clear, slotting past Grant and into the net.

The FC winner came with five minutes left, Barry Davies intercepted an Ashton move in his left back slot and guided the ball into the space beyond the Ashton full back for Sam Freakes to chase. As he collected the ball the full back had got back into position, but to little effect. Sam skipped past the defender and fired in a cross which was slotted home at the near post by substitute Gary Nolan.

Ashton Athletic pressed for another equaliser and did come close to scoring when Dean Robinson headed wide but FC held on for the victory.

FC United of Manchester

1. Grant Shenton
2. Alex Sutcliffe
3. Barry Davies
4. Tim Marshall
5. Nick Swirad
6. John Buckley ((Cautioned, 61 minutes)
7. Mark Reeves
8. Toby Iloba (Cautioned, 45 Minutes)
9. Gage Eme (Goal, 67 Minutes) (Cautioned, 32 Minutes)
10. Jamie Mack
11. Sam Freakes

12. Ashley Reece (For 7, 87 minutes)
14. Ryan Lyons
15. Gary Nolan (For 8, 57 Minutes) (Goal, 85 Minutes)
16. Shaun Williams (For 9, 76 Minutes)
17. Josh Parkinson

Ashton Athletic

1. Lee Novak
2. Phil Williams
3. Tom Perkins
4. Dean Robinson
5. Callum Williams
6. Chris Banasko
7. Grant Whitfield
8. Chris Francis (Cautioned, 32 Minutes) (Goal, 75 Minutes)
9. Mark Dumbell
10. Roshga Hama Salid Moussa
11. Isaac Akani

12. Curtis Neylon(For 2, 86 Minutes)
14. Simon Wosniak (For 11, 59 Minutes)
15. Essam Elbadri
16. Sam Sanya

16-02-2009 at 12:06

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