WARRINGTON RYLANDS 0, ASHTON UNITED 3
The new era at Ashton United under Steve Cunningham kicked off with an impressive win as they completed a double at play-off contenders Warrington Rylands where they also kept a clean sheet against the league’s highest scorers.
It was a much-changed line up as Cunningham gave debuts to four new signings who included Jason Gilcrist and Jack McKay who he managed at Buxton. They were joined by goalkeeper Andre Mendes, signed from Colne, and Stoke City youngster Nathan Lowe.
And what an impact the new boys made with Gilchrist bagging a double and Lowe also getting on to the scoresheet.
Gilchrist had Ashton ahead inside a quarter of an hour, latching on to Matty Regan’s long ball before neatly rounding goalkeeper Joel Torrance to slide the ball home.
Before that, James Baillie needed to be alert to clear Dylan Vassallo’s cross in the first couple of minutes and a penalty appeal at either end had drawn nothing from the referee.
Just past the midway point of the half a left-wing corner was cleverly flicked on by Scott Duxbury to ex-Robin Sam Egerton who brought a fine tip over from Mendes.
Lowe then provided a dangerous free kick and shortly afterwards just missed the left-hand post after an interception by George Milner.
On the stroke of half time, Kelly N’Mai reached the by line for Rylands with Matty Regan needing to be alert to clear and Sam Baird just missed Joe Bunney’s delivery at the back post.
On the resumption, substitute Sean Cooke almost had an instant impact as his return pass was fired just past Ashton’s left-hand post by Kallum Mantack and a quick break saw Gilchrist place his pass too far ahead of McKay.
Keilen Adams was then denied by a combination of three home defenders with Lowe hitting the side netting with a cheeky free kick.
With 15 minutes left, substitute Ben Hardcastle was fouled on the edge of the area and Lowe’s free kick deflected neatly for Gilchrist to head home his second.
Two minutes later and the game was up as Adams won another free kick out wide and despite the tightness of the angle Lowe again fired at the near post where the ball squeezed home despite Torrance’s best efforts.
So, an exciting start for the new management team and the prospect of better days ahead.
Ashton United: Mendes, Baillie, Bunney, Baird, Regan, Milner (Hardcastle 69), Gilchrist, Hough (Mitchell 51), Adams (Lonsdale 82), Lowe, McKay. Subs (unused): Guilfoyle, Brewster.
Report: David Robinson