ASHTON UNITED 3, WARRINGTON RYLANDS 1
A match-winning performance from Ben Hardcastle helped Ashton United to an eventually comfortable win in their first ever competitive encounter with Warrington Rylands.
And it helped maintain the Robins’ unbeaten start to the season as they lie third in Northern Premier League, premier division.
Michael Clegg’s side has collected seven points from a possible nine and is only shy of top spot by virtue of an inferior goal difference.
The Robins got off to a flyer as James Baillie picked up a loose ball and sent in a far post cross which was headed home by centre forward Callum Saunders inside the first four minutes.
There was still only 10 minutes on the clock as the equaliser arrived following a mistake by Harry Coates under pressure from Ryan Brooke which allowed him to tee up Kane Drummond whose low shot was saved by Greg Hartley only for Andrew Scarisbrick to sweep home the rebound.
Callum Dolan then escaped from Baillie down the left wing and cut inside before scuffing his effort which was turned home by Drummond from an offside position.
The Blues could have grabbed the lead as a quick free kick from David Webb hit the post after Dolan had been fouled by Baillie, but it was the home side who went ahead shortly before the break after Saunders’ left-wing cross was controlled and then finished neatly by Hardcastle after his initial attempt had been blocked.
The second half was played at a lesser tempo and a loose ball 30 yards out was curled just wide by Webb before Elliot Morris pushed Saunders over in the area with a corner mysteriously being awarded.
Just past the hour Hardcastle’s chip into the area saw Saunders’ lobbed effort cleared away via the underside of the crossbar and Hardcastle then forced Will Appleyard to parry away a fierce left foot effort and at the other end Dolan’s curled effort was headed away from the line by Regan.
In added time, a quick break saw Saunders tee up Hardcastle who won a penalty after rounding Appleyard which the centre forward rifled home emphatically.
Ashton United: Hartley, Baillie (Simpson 62), Regan, Battersby, Coates, Lonsdale, Hardcastle, Brewster, Saunders, Harrop (Warren 46), Hough (Spinelli 75). Subs (not used): Baird, Etia.
Report: David Robinson