FC UNITED 4, ASHTON UNITED 0
A blistering first half hour from play-off chasing FC United took care of the result at Broadhurst Park leaving them three goals to the good and visitors Ashton United a man short.
It was a loss which leaves the Robins 12th in the table, six points shy of the play-off places and six clear of the bottom four relegation spots.
Ashton fielded stand-in goalkeeper Matthew Gould, signed on loan from Altrincham, and gave a debut on the bench to Wigan Athletic loanee Ethan Mitchell with ex-Robin Paul Ennis leading the rebels.
Only two minutes were on the clock as the first threat arrived on the visiting goal as Regan Linney headed a great chance over from Finlay Armstrong’s delivery following a measured build-up.
But on 13 minutes their pressure told as Ben Hardcastle lost possession in midfield and a swift pass from Callum Gribbin put Linney in on goal as he rounded Gould for the opening goal.
In between times Sam Baird needed to make a great tackle to stop Wigan Athletic loanee Joe Rodwell-Grant on the edge of the area and Armstrong skipped past Hardcastle resulting in a low save from Gould who also blocked Linney’s snapshot.
Baird’s header then forced a save right on the goal line from Dan Lavercombe but just before the half hour the Robins were saved by the offside flag as Rodwell-Grant clipped home a rebound from an offside position.
Two minutes later Rodwell-Grant made amends finishing Linney’s set up after Michael Brewster had been caught in possession.
And three minutes later Baird was dismissed for a pull on Rodwell-Grant which saw Ennis fire home from the spot.
With Ashton reeling, Rodwell-Grant missed a good chance from Armstrong’s latest pullback and Alex Wollerton shot straight at Gould after good work by Gribbin.
Following the restart, Hardcastle brought a low save out of Lavercombe after getting the better of Armstrong and Rodwell-Grant saw another close-range effort denied by Gould.
With Ashton trying to find something on the offensive, Kielen Adams headed Brewster’s right wing cross over while offside and Wollerton’s deep cross saw Linney’s header kept out right on the line by Gould.
With five minutes left, the scoring was completed as Michael Donohue’s run through midfield saw Gribbin slot away the chance inside the area to complete a comprehensive victory.
Ashton United: Gould, Roxburgh, Lonsdale, Amaral (Milner 72), Regan, Baird, Hardcastle, Brewster, Adams (Kenny 72), Hough (Mitchell 34), Warren. Subs (not used): Baillie, Guilfoyle.
Report: David Robinson.