ASHTON ATHLETIC 1-1 1874 NORTHWICH NWCFL PREMIER 14TH FEBRUARY 2015
Third hosted fourth in this top of the table encounter at Brocstedes Park, and when the final whistle blew the two sides could not be separated.
Unbeaten at home since October Ashton Athletic almost caught 1874 cold in the first minute. The lively Isaac Kusaloka, a thorn in 1874’s side all afternoon, intercepted a wayward pass, advancing towards goal he was met outside the area by Matt Conkie who blocked the shot with his body.
A minute later Stuart Wellstead had 1874’s first attempt at goal, but his shot was well saved by Ashton goalkeeper Jason Foulds. Shortly afterwards captain Ian Rowlands came to Ashton’s rescue heading a dangerous Matty Ward cross behind for a corner as Mike Brandon was about to pounce.
Neither side could settle in to a pattern of play as two evenly matched teams were cancelling each other out, with both relying on long balls to make ground.
Ashton enjoyed the better of the opening stanza. Ryan Mitchell was forced to clear a Sam Bailey header off the line, he also pulled off a last ditch tackle to deny Kusaloka. Conkie saved well to keep out a Ryan Small header and confidently dealt with a number of crosses played into the 1874 area.
Although 1874 enjoyed the better of the play after the break the second half continued in a similar stop-start fashion to the first. In a highly competitive game referee Barry Cropp saw fit to issue seven yellow cards (4 to Ashton and 3 to 1874) in the second half, although no bad fouls were seen, and dismissed 1874 manager Ian Street from the technical area.
As 1874 started to get on top, Foulds did well to pluck a free kick off Mitchell’s head but could only watch as Brandon flashed a diving header wide of the target and Ryan Stewart shot wide from the edge of the area.
The deadlock was broken in the 59th minute when a Ward cross from the left found Brandon at the far post. Out jumping his marker 1874’s all time leading goal scorer powerfully headed past Foulds to register his 50th goal in 1874 colours.
Three minutes later 1874 had a penalty appeal waved away when an Ashton defender grabbed Chris Lunn’s shirt dragging him out of the path a free kick played into the box causing him to scuff his shot with the goal at his mercy.
In the closing stages of an enthralling game, Ashton piled forward in search of an equaliser being denied on several occasions by last ditch defending until four minutes into stoppage time. Kusaloka broke free in 1874’s area to fire a shot past Conkie to rescue a deserved point for the home side.
ASHTON – Foulds, Edwards, Howard, Rowland, Holden, Watson (Harrison 73mins), Regan (Bannister 73mins), Kay (Cringle 85mins), Small, Kusaloka, Bailey. Subs not used Casey, Woods.
1874 – Cankie, Connor, Bayley, Mitchell, Thomas, Stewart, Woolley, Wellstead (Lunn 58mins), Brandon, Ward, Duckworth. Subs not used Woods, Beadle, Hankey, Bowyer.
GOALS 1874 – Brandon 69mins ASHTON – Kusaloka 94mins
REFEREE – Barry Cropp ATTENDANCE 202 (Ashton’s record attendance)
|Sat 14 Feb 2015||3:00 pm||NWCFL Premier Division||2014/15|
|16 Brocstedes Rd, Ashton-in-Makerfield, Wigan WN4 0NQ, UK|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals|