ASHTON UNITED 1, RADCLIFFE FC 2
Two goals from striker Luca Navarro earned Radcliffe FC victory at Hurst Cross to maintain their play-off push in Northern Premier League, premier.
It was a disappointing day for the Robins whose promotion hopes are over as they look anxiously over their shoulder at the opposite end of the table.
A run of inconsistent results has seen United slip to only four points clear of the relegation places.
The action opened with debutant Harry Bunn, signed from Buxton and with considerable EFL experience, firing an effort wide for the Robins after Sean Newton’s free kick had been blocked.
Just past the quarter hour, a good move saw Newton’s long ball flicked down by Keilen Adams to Jack McKay who slipped the ball to Jason Gilchrist to fire wide.
After 25 minutes Michael Brewster touched on Nicky Adams’ corner for Jake Thompson to be denied close in but by the half hour mark the visitors were on top and Luke Joyce’s forward pass found former Bolton Wanderers player Navarro in space from where he lobbed home the opening goal over Andre Mendes.
Matters could have got even worse 10 minutes before the break as Matthew Grivosti’s neat flick put Jude Oyibo through on Mendes who made a fine save with his foot.
After the break Bunn’s shot was deflected for a corner from which Thompson broke away to send Oyibo running on goal producing a good low save from Mendes.
A long ball then saw McKay squeeze his effort past Sunderland loanee goalkeeper Jack McIntyre but with insufficient power and the hosts were struggling to get back into the game.
But with 11 minutes left substitute George Milner bravely won a corner from which Matty Regan’s shot was blocked allowing fellow centre back Sam Baird to fire the equaliser into the roof of the net.
However, three minutes later former Ashton defender Richard Smith charged towards Ashton’s penalty area only to be halted on the edge by Regan who collected a yellow card and the ultimate punishment ensued as Navarro curled his effort round the wall and beat Mendes on his near post.
There was still time for winger Thompson to bring a low save from Mendes after picking up Navarro’s pass as Radcliffe came close to winning by a wider margin.
Ashton United: Mendes, Baillie (Milner 72), Newton, Baird, Regan, Lowe (Guilfoyle 78), Gilchrist (Hobson 78), Whitham, Adams, McKay, Bunn. Subs (not used): Lonsdale, Hough.
Report: David Robinson.