ASHTON UNITED 4, MORPETH TOWN 3
A courageous fightback from North East visitors Morpeth Town came close to rescuing a point at Hurst Cross as Ashton United were left holding on having been cruising at 4-0 up with 50 minutes played.
The in-form Robins, for whom Jason Gilchrist scored a hat-trick, held on as they climbed to second place in Northern Premier League, premier.
Manager Steve Cunningham made just one change from the win at Lancaster with Joe Robbins back in midfield and they kicked off looking for their fifth successive win as James Hardy collected a loose ball and shot wide from distance.
The breakthrough wasn’t far away as 18 minutes in a great move saw Mitchell Rose release Alex Byrne down the right wing and his far post cross gave Gilchrist an unmissable header.
The hosts continued to have the momentum as Gilchrist cut inside and brought a low save from Dan Lowson who also caught his long-range attempt from the centre circle.
In-between times Dan Cowan headed Robson’s cross clear and rescued Luke Burke after a loose pass.
Five minutes before the interval, Liam Miller’s handball conceded a free kick which saw Byrne’s deep delivery headed over by Gilchrist but on the stroke of half time Byrne’s second corner was headed home by Dan Cowan via Lowson’s hand and the post.
Within five minutes of the restart, the hosts appeared to be out of sight as firstly Burke’s pass into the area saw a decisive low finish by the centre forward and then substitute George Milner’s measured pass into the area saw Gilchrist complete his hat trick off the far post.
Robson then won a corner off Cowan which saw Daniel Barlow volley Sean Newton’s clearing header just wide.
WIth 25 minutes left, the Highwaymen fired a warning as Andrew Johnson’s cross picked out Barlow for a clear header six yards out which was saved on the goalline by keeper Luke Simpson but just a minute later Vinnie Steels pulled a goal back as a left-wing cross was only partly cleared.
Three minutes later and a cross from the other wing by Steels saw Johnson sliding home as Morpeth began to believe and Barlow’s sharp turn then saw him shoot right across goal.
Johnson’s cross was then cleared for a corner by Benny Couto which saw substitute Ryan Wombwell pull another goal back after a neat turn.
With Ashton fearing the worst, Byrne missed a great chance to settle nerves dragging his shot wide from a clear position and in added time Gilchrist slid a great chance past the post after collecting Will Jenkins’ loose pass.
Ashton United: Simpson, Cowan, Newton, Couto, Burke, Robbins (Milner 46), Byrne, Rose, Gilchrist, Cusani (Caton 79), Hardy (Bianga 71). Subs (unused): Adams, Potts.
Report: David Robinson.