KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS 2, ASHTON UNITED 0
Ashton United’s bid to reach the first-round proper of the Emirates FA Cup for the first time in 68 years ended in heartbreak with defeat at Kidderminster Harriers.
The Robins’ brave run came to an end in the fourth qualifying round as two second-half goals from Ashley Hemmings were enough to settle the issue at Aggborough Stadium.
A crowd of 2,064 gathered on a beautiful autumn day and with the Robins almost at full strength they set out to take the game to their higher league opponents as Benny Couto’s pass inside full back Sammy Robinson allowed Marcus Cusani to force a low save from Christian Dibble down to his right.
A corner soon followed which saw Alex Byrne’s swinging return ball headed clear in front of the goalline.
Still in the opening seven minutes Robinson’s overlapping run saw his cross rebound to Amari Morgan-Smith with Dan Cowan needing to put in a vital block.
Robinson then made another great run into the area which saw Luke Simpson deny Kieran Phillips at his near post but after Harriers had won a corner Ashton captain Nathan Lowe needed to be replaced after a recurrence of a recent hamstring injury. The subsequent corner was only cleared as far as Phillips whose fine effort was tipped over by Simpson with the aid of the crossbar.
Simpson again had to be alert as loose ball saw Barry Maguire get hold of an effort from 20 yards and McNally’s pass pick out the run of Robinson with Cowan again on hand to clear.
With the break approaching Robinson took another long ball in his stride before setting up Phillips who forced Simpson into another tip away and at the other end Sean Newton won a corner for the Robins which saw his own header cleared off the line by Gerry McDonagh.
Just before the hour, Byrne’s cross shot comfortably missed the far post but six minutes later a throw in found Hemmings on the far side of the area and having stepped past Couto he curled a fine effort into the far side of the goal.
As Ashton tried to fight back Louis Potts won a free kick out right which saw Byrne’s delivery cleared to James Hardy who steered well over but after Maguire’s shot was blocked Caleb Richards floated a cross to the back post allowing Hemmings to head home the second.
With Harriers still pressing a fine move saw Phillips and Morgan-Smith exchange passes before the former just missed the far post and with a minute left Newton retrieved the ball and his cross saw Cowan’s header helped on to the top of the bar by Potts.
Ashton United: Simpson, Cowan, Newton, Couto, Burke, Cusani (Potts 68), Byrne, Rose, Gilchrist, Lowe (Milner 26, Baird 74)), Hardy. Subs (unused): Robbins, Lonsdale, Bianga, Caton.
Attendance: 2,064 (121 visitors).
Report: David Robinson.