ASHTON UNITED 1, BASFORD UNITED 0
A single second-half goal was enough to get Ashton United’s season up and running as they beat Basford United at a sunny Hurst Cross in front of a crowd of 232.
The decisive strike came after 65 minutes as Alex Byrne took a corner having seen his initial effort crowded out at the near post and when the ball was flicked on Sean Newton was on hand to volley it home amidst rapturous scenes.
It was great win bearing in mind the Robins were soundly beaten 5-0 at Workington three days earlier in their opening game of the season in Northern Premier League, premier.
A delighted manager Steve Cunningham said: “I thought we dominated from the first whistle and were still the better team after the sending off and deserved the three points.
“It was a challenge to bounce back from Saturday’s result, the ongoing challenge is to raise our game against the likes of Macclesfield and Radcliffe and compete for the play offs.”
The hosts made two changes from the opening day with starts handed to both George Milner and Louis Potts.
After Marcus Cusani won an early corner Byrne’s delivery was headed just over by Dan Cowan for a second corner which saw the centre back bring a good save out of Kieran Preston.
WIth the home side in the ascendancy, Cusani spread the play to Luke Burke and Byrne’s resultant cross saw Potts crash his effort against the bar.
Just past the half hour Basford were reduced to 10 men as Brad McGowan was dismissed for an apparent elbow on Potts and the Lions then threatened for the first time as Matt Thornhill’s corner was fisted away from the goalline by Luke Simpson.
Potts was back in the action on the resumption forcing a low save out of Preston and then slicing well wide from Milner’s pass over the top.
At the other end, Jonathan Wafula headed a long free kick just past the post. After the breakthrough, Potts saw a bouncing shot saved at the second attempt and Byrne baffled his opposing defender before seeing his cross glance away off the crossbar.
Cusani then fired over having made space on the edge of the area and a quick break saw Chris Dawson tee up Byrne whose shot was tipped over.
Ashton United: Simpson, Cowan, Newton, Lonsdale, Burke, Cusani, Byrne, Abbott (Adams 64), Caton (Dawson 58) Potts (Bianga 76), Milner. Subs (not used): Gilchrist, Da Silva.
Report: David Robinson.