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Barnoldswick Town must pick themselves up
Ashton Athletic 2, Barnoldswick Town 0
For a change the sun was shining, and Brnoldswick Town welcomed Mark Threlfall back into the starting squad for their North West Counties League Premier Division clash last Saturday, albeit on the bench after a lay-off through injury.
Town started well, Harry Thompson sending a shot fizzing past the Ashton upright after Liam Garbutt had laid the ball back as early as the second minute.
Both teams were working hard in midfield for the first 15 minutes without troubling either keeper.
The first threatening move from Ashton came after 16 minutes, with Carl Addison having a close-range shot saved by Marko Marosi in the Town goal.
Ashton were now beginning to pick up the pace and last man Bill Williams made a brilliant tackle to stop a threatening one-two between Ryan Stewart and Addison.
Town responded after 23 minutes, Thompson cleverly chipping the ball through the centre of the Ashton defence, Ashton goalkeeper Chris Brinksman racing out to the edge of his penalty area and managing to nick the ball away from Garbutt as he appeared to be through on goal.
Further Town pressure led to Brinksman save from a Stewart Airdrie shot.
But Ashton took command in the next few minutes, James Rushton-Woods glancing a header wide when he should have at least hit the target close in.
A minute later, Ash Alderson was robbed just outside the Town penalty area by Stewart and his shot was only just over the bar from the edge of the area.
Further pressure on the Town goal came when a weak header out of the penalty area went straight to Stewart, his fierce shot going across the face of the Town goal but the wrong side of the post for a goal kick.
Town’s only effort on goal was a cross-cum shot from Liam Blades that had Brinksman diving to his right to palm the ball away.
But the half finished with Michael Downing firing towards the near post, Marosi having to make a good save.
Three minutes into the second half, Billy Priestley brought down Ashton’s captain Stewart, taking the man rather than the ball. Mark Bailey stepped up to score from the penalty spot.
Town responded, Jack Overson doing well down the Ashton left, but his cross was saved at full stretch by Brinksman.
Barnoldswick then made a double substitution after 59 minutes, Priest-ley and Williams making way for Lewis Jordan and Threlfall.
It seemed as if the Town defence was re-organising but Ashton struck again two minutes later.
Home full back James Waldron picked up a poor clearance and, after a good one-two with a team-mate, found himself on the by-line. His cross beat Marosi, leaving Bailey at the far post with a simple tap-in.
Town immediately made another substitution, Alderson making way for Chris Ridehalgh.
Try as they could, Town didn’t look like they would breach the Ashton defence, with Brinksman having a relatively easy afternoon.
This was a true result, Town having a very poor match and rarely threatening the Ashton goal. They also seemed to be second to the ball in every tackle.
Town have dropped to third in the table after Stockport Sports’ 7-0 thumping of hapless visitors Norton United.
On Saturday, Barnoldswick have an opportunity to bounce back when they host 19th-placed AFC Liverpool, and on Tuesday Town visit Blackpool-based Squires Gate, who are a place below Liverpool.