LIVERSEDGE 0, ASHTON UNITED 1
New-look Ashton United won at Liversedge through a late goal from substitute Max Harrop as their Northern Premier League, premier division campaign got off to the perfect start.
On a bakingly hot day in West Yorkshire, the Robins fielded six debutants as well as the returning Matty Regan as stand-in captain in place of the absent Michael Brewster.
Ashton began with the advantage of a slight slope in the first period and James Baillie’s free kick was put wide by Callum Saunders.
The forward then fired straight across goal after collecting Regan’s forward pass and a long ball at the other end drew an unconvincing headed clearance from Greg Hartley with George Milner needing to help him out.
A left wing cross then saw an interchange between Joe Walton and James Walshaw needing a point blank save from Hartley who then clawed out Walton’s header from the return ball.
Ben Hardcastle then fired straight at Jordan Porter in the home goal and 10 minutes before the break Jack Steers glanced Connor Smythe’s corner against the outside of the post.
Ashton resumed attacking the Cowshed end and Saunders was immediately set free by a long ball from the back and cut inside on his left foot only to shoot straight at Porter and Hardcastle’s header was also comfortable for the keeper from Baillie’s right-wing delivery.
At the other end, a quick break saw Walshaw blocked out by Regan with Ben Atkinson sending an effort whistling wide before Niall Battersby denied substitute Iren Wilson after he had been played through the middle.
Despite plenty of chances, the game appeared as if it could be heading for a stalemate as Walshaw turned on to a throw in and brought a good save out of Hartley.
But with eight minutes left a measured build up by the Robins saw the ball eventually reach Tom Warren whose left-wing cross was cleverly converted by Harrop.
A final chance emerged for the hosts as Baillie pushed Walshaw in the back with the forward firing a poor free kick low effort into the wall.
Ashton United: Hartley, Baillie, Warren, Regan, Baird, Battersby, Hough, Milner, Kenny (Etia 73), Saunders (Spinelli 87), Hardcastle (Harrop 80). Subs (not used): Coates, Tomsett.
Report: David Robinson