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Kendal cruelly denied as Ashton equalise with injury time penalty
Kendal Town 2
Ashton United 2
Evo-Stik Premier Division
INJURY time heart-break denied Kendal Town a deserved three points in this entertaining encounter at Parkside Road.
The Black and Whites dominated proceedings as they tried out a new 4-3-3 formation which totally caught the Lancashire side off-guard.
Tall striker Josh Amis, on loan from Preston North End, was magnificent up front alongside Sefton Gonzales and Alex Taylor, who similarly had a good game.
But star of the show was new signing Jack Cook from Lancaster City Reserves, whose passing was superb, and he ran the midfield battle alongside Adam Birchall, with Rory Winters outstanding at the back.
As early as the sixth minute Kendal had a chance when Taylor’s effort was blocked on the edge of the box and Kevin Leadbetter had a left-footer deflected for a corner.
Amis bullied the Ashton backline and that almost reaped rewards when a mistake almost let the striker in, but the side seventh in the table before this game recovered to avert the danger.
Taylor had a penalty shout when he fell in the box after a lovely move from Birchall and Gonzales midway through the first half, while Gonzales could not quite get onto the end of a Leadbetter through-ball which he was always second favourite for.
In the 42nd minute, Town got what they deserved. Winters flicked on a ball into the box and it looked like danger was averted. But when everybody was expecting a cross, Taylor’s lob worked its way into the back of the net from the most acute of angles to give Kendal the lead.
Amis had an opportunity to make it 2-0 when the advantage was played after Taylor was wiped out from behind by Ashton skipper Chris Lynch, which he was booked for, but keeper Paul Phillips stopped his effort at the near post to keep the score 1-0.
Kendal roared out of the blocks for the second half and Danny Williams crossed a lovely ball in for Amis, whose header went over the bar, after just 30 seconds.
Five minutes later Leadbetter had a shot on the edge of the box blocked after some fantastic passing and moving between the Black and Whites involving Amis and Cook.
Williams was enjoying time and space on the left as he marauded forward from left back, Taylor unable to connect to one of his crosses on the hour mark as Kendal huffed and puffed but they couldn’t score.
Taylor should have put the ball in the net a minute later but he lacked composure after a flick-on by Winters.
But with the Black and Whites squandering chances, Ashton equalised against the run of play. The ball was drilled into the six yard box on 68 minutes by substitute Matty Kosylo, and Aaron Burns couldn’t fail to score as he ran onto the ball.
Parity was to last for just 60 seconds though as Gonzales executed a perfect header from a Leadbetter free kick at the near post to restore Kendal’s lead immediately.
Still Town had chances, Amis shooting straight at keeper Paul Phillips when he was put through one-on-one by Cook.
Going into the last 10 minutes Kendal needed to hold possession better and play the game out, but they were still knocking on Ashton’s door as the game opened up.
Winters put in a game-saving challenge as Burns ran onto a through-ball for Ashton with five minutes to go, while two visiting players could not get onto the end of a cross from the Lancashire side.
As the game entered injury time Kendal had the opportunity to kill the game off. Taylor did brilliantly to get past centre back Craig Robinson and Leadbetter could not quite finish the chance as Phillips scrambled to clear. The ball fell to substitute Scott Harries and with the goal gaping from five yards out he smashed the ball over the bar as Kendal missed the chance to go two goals clear.
And in the third minute of injury time Town were made to rue the missed chance. Burns was judged to have been fouled in the box, and the striker got up to send keeper Craig Dootson the wrong way as Ashton salvaged an undeserved point.
Tom Baker had a shot deflected for a corner in an effort that would have been cruel beyond belief had it gone in.
But the visitors could not do anything from the corner and Kendal were forced to accept a point from a match in which they deserved all three.
Craig Dootson, Naim El-Harrati, Danny Williams, Rory Winters, Marc Joseph (c), Adam Birchall, Jack Cook, Alex Taylor, Josh Amis, Sefton Gonzales, Kevin Leadbetter.
Subs: Scott Harries for Amis (82).
Subs not used: Ian Kilford, Alex Ralph, Chris Mason, Josh Welsby.
Key man: Jack Cook – Made an outstanding debut with passes David Beckham would have been proud of in his heyday.
Phillips, Frost, Caldercott (Baguley 83), Beattie, Robinson, Lynch (c), Peers (Kosylo 60), Baker, Burns, Mulholland (Hogan 72), Johnson.
Subs not used: Harrop, Burke.
Yellow cards: Lynch, Caldercott