Gladiators put Ashton to the sword

NPL Premier Division: Matlock Town 4-1 Ashton United

Ashton’s promising early season form deserted them in Derbyshire as the hosts ran out convincing winners. Liam Tomsett was restored in the visitors’ midfield and it was he who almost got them off to a flyer as a loose ball saw his first time left foot effort narrowly pass by the post hitting the stantion supporting the goal.

On five minutes Michael Raynes left a through ball to keeper Hartley and in nipped former Robin Callum Dolan with Hartley bringing him down for a penalty which Declan Walker just converted. Things were to get worse for Raynes approaching half time as he over hit a back pass which sailed over Hartley’s head and crossed the line despite the keeper’s desperate efforts. In between times Ben Hardcastle had equalised for the visitors firing in a left foot effort which found its way into the net after he had exchanged passes with Tomsett following a corner.

Lewis Walters could have made an immediate impact after the break but pulled the ball back to no-one after a great pass from Hardcastle and a long ball into Ashton’s defence then saw Dolan cut inside before shooting straight at Hartley with Liam Hughes helping the return ball wide from close in. Midway through the half Alex Byrne extended the gladiators’ lead as his shot following a scramble found its way home but Ashton could have found a lifeline as John Lufudu was denied a penalty after being brought down by Hughes right on the edge of the area.

Hughes then made an impact at the other end as Yates’ long cross field pass was controlled before he shot home off Hartley and after Hardcastle’s shot had been beaten out by Rowley Ashton’s luck was summed up as Hardcastle turned sharply on to Lufudu’s pass but saw his shot come back off the left hand post.

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