ASHTON UNITED 3, BAMBER BRIDGE 0
An early kick off was no handicap for Ashton United as they took all three points with a comfortable home victory against Bamber Bridge.
It lifted the Robins back into the top 10 as they are ninth and only three points adrift of third-placed South Shields.
With striker Darius Osei recalled by South Shields, two on-loan players were drafted into their line- up, Dana Amaral and Keilen Adams signed from Preston North End and Marine respectively.
But there was no sign of Manchester City’s Erling Haaland, the subject of a cheeky loan bid by the Robins earlier in the week.
The first half had little to recommend until five minutes before the break when midfield debutant Amaral picked up a loose ball and rifled it past goalkeeper Felix Goddard from 25 yards.
The visitors were forced into early changes as Matthew Thomson was helped off and had probably held sway to that point as Harry Scarborough brought a good reaction save out of Greg Hartley from Rhys Turner’s pass.
On the stroke of half time, Scarborough’s effort was deflected through to Hartley after Danny Forbes had laid the ball off. Just beforehand the other debutant Adams slipped at the vital moment as Jack Kenny crossed from Matty Regan’s break out of defence.
After the restart a right wing cross eventually reached Aaron Skinner who shot over on the turn but five minutes in returning captain Michael Brewster doubled the advantage after Amaral had released Ben Hough whose cross was only half cleared.
Hartley was called into action again palming away Sheldon Green’s effort after Finlay Sinclair-Smith had retrieved the ball from the by-line with Donovan Lescott hitting the side netting from the rebound.
The visitors still presented a threat going forward and after George Milner had been booked for tripping Finlay Sinclair-Smith, Skinner’s cross saw Scarborough’s glancing header flash across goal.
With 20 minutes left Hough’s near post cross was cut out by Nathan Pond for a corner which saw Harry Coates’ header back eventually forced home for his second by Brewster.
Matters got somewhat fractious as Nathan Pond was booked for a cynical hack on Joe Robbins and both Hough and Sinclair-Smith both saw yellow after a clash spilled over in front of the main stand.
Ashton Utd: Hartley, Roxburgh, Warren, Milner, Regan, Coates, Amaral (Robbins 81), Brewster, Adams (Saunders 72), Hough, Kenny (Hardcastle 72). Subs (not used): Harrop, Taylor,
Report: David Robinson.