ASHTON UNITED 4, TRAFFORD FC 2
Two late goals saw Ashton United through to their second Manchester Premier Cup final in three years after a plucky effort by visitors Trafford FC in a fluctuating encounter at Hurst Cross.
A day of persistent rain had left a heavy playing surface which survived a pre-match inspection and three minutes in Alex Byrne’s header back to James Hardy found him blazing over the bar.
Sean Newton then tripped Edvards Servuts just outside the area after a misplaced pass by Couto with the free kick hitting the wall.
Kielen Adams then won a free kick at the other end which saw Newton’s low effort deflected narrowly wide before a great move saw Byrne chip Jason Gilchrist into the area from where a back pass by Harry Norris was ignored by the referee.
Adams then raced into the area onto Byrne’s pass and checked back before firing straight at Booth but midway through the half Matt Morgan’s shot brought a good low save out of Paul Cooper with Tom Beckett’s resulting corner headed home close in by Norris.
Ten minutes later the Robins were level as another Byrne pass saw Adams’ cross shot converted at the far post by Brad Abbott.
On the stroke of half time, Luke Burke’s run saw Hardy’s square ball fired home first time by Couto for his first Ashton goal.
Adams was back in the action eight minutes after the restart as he just missed the post after finding space and Gilchrist’s effort on the turn was straight at keeper Sam Booth from Byrne’s right-wing cross.
Midway through the half a misplaced pass by Byrne saw substitute Rob Worrall play Morgan into the clear from where he slid home the equaliser.
With the game in the balance, Nathan Lowe hit the side netting from Burke’s pass and substitute Warren Clarke helped Byrne’s cross past the near post with the goal gaping.
With five minutes left, some great play from Burke sent Clarke away down the left wing with his pull back being fired over by Hardy.
And one minute later a long clearance from Cooper was flicked on by Hardy putting Gilchrist clear to slide Ashton ahead and two minutes over the 90 Byrne fired a effort towards the far post for Gilchrist to touch the ball home and seal victory.
Ashton United: Cooper, Cowan, Newton, Couto, Burke, Abbott, Byrne, Lowe, Gilchrist, Adams (Clarke 73), Hardy (Bjork 87). Subs (unused): Culkin, Caton, Cusani.
Report: David Robinson.