LANCASTER CITY 0, ASHTON UNITED 2
Ashton United are potentially only 90 minutes away from reaching the first-round proper of the Emirates FA Cup and possibly landing a lucrative tie against an EFL club.
The Robins progressed to the fourth qualifying round after two second-half goals from Jason Gilchrist was enough to see off the Dolly Blues following their victory at Lancaster City.
The persistent rain had left a slick playing surface and it was the visitors first into their stride as two dangerous crosses from Alex Byrne needed to be cleared by Charlie Barnes and Sam Bailey before the winger cut inside and shot straight at former Robins’ goalkeeper Andre Mendes.
Andres Bianga, starting in midfield in place of the injured Brad Abbott, then placed an effort just off target after Marcus Cusani’s shot had been blocked and at the other end Sean Newton cleared Sam Bailey’s testing cross before Jake Connelly sent a swinging effort well wide.
Connelly was then played through the middle with his deflected shot well parried away by Luke Simpson who also palmed Sam Bailey’s next delivery to safety.
Midway through the half, Bianga picked up a booking for downing David Norris right on the edge of the area and, after Norris’s free kick had been blocked, the follow up shot from the centre forward was just squeezed out for a corner by Simpson.
Gilchrist then curled an effort past the far post from Cusani’s pass but was adjudged offside and just before half time the same outcome ruled out Gilchrist’s header after Byrne had won a corner.
A quick break just before the hour for the home side saw Norris fire Bradley Carroll’s pass into the side netting but a minute later the breakthrough arrived as a fine pass from Bianga sailed over Matty Clarke’s head leaving Byrne a clear run into the area from where Gilchrist his cross converted the opening goal.
Cusani was then brought down on the left-hand side of the area with Byrne’s curling attempt going over.
But with 16 minutes left, Cusani’s strength allowed him to hold on to possession following a break out of defence and his square ball to Gilchrist saw the centre forward steady himself before converting past Mendes.
The home side had a couple of chances to strike back as substitute Jacob Holland-Wilkinson latched onto a loose pass but fired wide of the far post and Charlie Bailey’s low effort needed Simpson to turn it away for a corner which was headed off the line by Benny Couto.
In added time a scramble in the Ashton area saw Dom Lawson tee up Charlie Bailey to side-foot wide from a great position ensuring Ashton take their place in Monday’s draw.
Ashton United: Simpson, Cowan, Newton, Couto, Burke, Bianga (Milner 60), Byrne (Caton 72), Rose, Gilchrist (Potts 78), Cusani, Hardy. SNU: Robbins, Adams, Lonsdale, Baird.
Report: David Robinson.