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Barnoldswick Town's gilt-edged chances are not taken against form horses
Ashton Athletic 3, Barnoldswick Town 0
This was a tough task for Town against a team who are top of the North West Counties League Premier Division form table, having won their last five matches, title contenders Runcorn Linnets, Bootle and Norton United being three of the victims.
But if Town, who played well, had taken some of their gilt-edged chances, the result could have been different.
Town had Aaron Hollindrake and Chris Ridehalgh back in the starting line-up, but striker Mark Threlfall was missing due to the birth of his son Lucas at 6am on Saturday.
The visitors had the wind at their backs first and pressed without making any real impression.
Then, on 17 minutes, a failure to cut out a Jamie Harrison cross led to Adam Gilchrist being unmarked at the far post. He had time to bring the ball under control and score easily.
Two minutes later, Town should have equalised. Joel Melia slipped a great through ball inside the Ashton penalty area to Ridehalgh, who twisted past a defender but, with only Ashton keeper Jason Foulds to beat, he lifted the ball just over the bar.
Ashton were coming more into it. A Richard Livingston cross was met by Stephen Kay but Davy saved the shot well.
Athletic then won a corner on Town’s right which Davy was unable to collect. The ball fell just past the far post and was headed back into the danger area, Livingston heading it against the bar.
A good run by Anthony Pollard down the Ashton left just after the half-hour led to him slipping the ball inside to Harry Thompson.
He fed Melia, who beat a defender before hitting a shot that looked goalbound but moved wide of the far upright.
Town had another gilt-edged chance on half-time, Thompson made a great run into the left side of the Ashton penalty area, and Foulds tried to cut the ball out.
Thompson squared it past the stranded keeper, finding Melia unmarked just inside the area, but, with the goal gaping, the ball bounced wickedly, and by the time he had brought it under control, three defenders were covering.
Ashton thought they had made it 2-0 six minutes into the half when Daniel Ma-honey slipped Michael Downing through, who scored but was flagged offside.
Adam Howard, always pushing up from full back, had a 30-yard free-kick well saved by Davy just before the hour, and a couple of minutes later, Hollindrake and Ridehalgh got in each other’s way on the six-yard line and another chance had gone.
Hesitancy cost Neil Stansfield a chance for Town in the 62nd minute, and Hollindrake then brought a great save from goalkeeper of the month Foulds, Melia again being the provider.
Ashton swiftly sealed matters via Gilchrist’s deflected shot and a header by the unmarked Howard, and the latter also hit a post late on.
Next up are newcomers West Didsbury and Chorlton away before the Boxing Day derby at home to Silsden.
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