FC United recorded our sixth straight victory by beating Ashton United 2-0 at Hurst Cross on Saturday afternoon with a goal in each half from Matthew Wolfenden and Craig Lindfield.
The management team made four changes to the XI who started against Trafford on New Year’s Day, including Dave Birch who came in to captain the side.
A 1,067 strong crowd turned out on a grey January afternoon for a decisive ’six pointer’ on a muddy surface that wasn’t going to be the most conducive for attractive football.
Martin Pilkington was almost gifted an early opener after David Carnell’s clearance fell straight to the forward who luckily didn’t threaten. On 10 minutes, United’s first shot on target came from Wolfenden who worked hard through the centre before shooting from the edge of the area straight at Sam Modlinsky between the Ashton uprights.
Both Matthew Kay and Pilkington had efforts on goal for their respective sides and former FC midfielder Chris Baguley, who emerged as the Robins’ principal free-kick taker, stepped up once more as Ashton were awarded the decision and hit a powerful shot which Carnell was equal to.
A couple of minutes later, as the home side were building, Baguley’s ball in to the box fell to Ashley Young and although his shot took a deflection, Carnell prevented Ashton breaking the deadlock.
Half an hour in, as both sides struggled with the playing surface, the Reds found a way through. Jerome Wright’s throw on the left was picked up by Wolfenden who controlled superbly and sent the ball sweetly beyond Modlinsky.
Tom Greaves’ run to the dead-ball line saw the striker cross into the area and there were appeals for handball as FC tried to get a shot away. Minutes later, Greaves was seemingly pushed to the ground on the edge of the Ashton area with the keeper off his line, but all claims to this effect were dismissed.
The Robins almost ended the half on level terms as Lee Rick was denied from a one-on-one position by Carnell who pulled out a magnificent save at a crucial point in the game.
Ashton applied pressure early in the second period as Kayde Collin curled his effort over the bar from just inside the area.
Not long into the half, Greg Daniels replaced Kay who appeared to be struggling after recently returning from a groin strain and the hosts also made a change, bringing on Martin Hill in place of Rick.
As the game progressed, FC United were still working hard, trying to press forward and play football on the challenging surface. Callum Byrne entered into the proceedings with around 20 minutes to play, replacing Birch who passed the armband onto Liam Brownhill.
With four minutes of normal time remaining, Lindfield doubled United’s lead in style. With the defender beaten, Lindfield looked up and fired from range into the far top corner to score his second stunner in as many games.
Matthew Walwyn was brought on for Wolfenden late in the game as the Reds saw out the encounter to notch up a sixth straight victory and another clean sheet.
Website Man of the Match: Craig Lindfield - worked hard all game in a great team performance and secured the victory with a late cracker.
Report by Victoria Fullen