Ashton United 4
Kendal Town 1
Evo-Stik Premier Division
A COMMANDING first half performance from Ashton United was enough to give them all three points as their midfield bossed the show at Hurst Cross.
Midfielder Kyle Harrop was the architect for victory as he built wave upon wave of attacks for the home side, which Ashton’s strikers were more than happy to score from as the Lancashire side built up a 3-0 at half time.
In comparison Kendal Town’s midfield looked overrun and too many times the Black and Whites looked for the killer ball when simple passing and moving would have given them greater reward.
The first portion of the game involved tough tackling from both sides as they tried to assert their dominance, with Kevin Brown adding over a Kendal corner in the seventh minute, and Stephen Johnson’s snatch-shot going over the bar 10 minutes later for Ashton.
But in the 26th minute Aaron Burns gave the home side the lead when, unmarked in the six yard box, he tucked home a simple square ball to give the Hurst Cross outfit the lead.
They nearly doubled their advantage straight away when Burns had a glorious chance with a header in the area, but he could only divert his effort over the bar.
A Callum Hoctor cross gave Ashton something to think about on the half-hour, while Tom Williams had two attempts blocked in the area as he failed to get past defender Thomas Moore.
But Kendal were struck a double-hammer blow when United bagged two quickfire goals in the 38th and 39th minutes.
Firstly Burns secured his brace with another simple finish following a great cutback and pass from substitute Dennis Sherriff, who came on for the injured Matty Barlow.
Then the sub got a goal for himself after Harrop sprayed a beautiful ball to Scott Hogan on the wing, who played the ball into Sherriff. The Ashton striker fired a crisp shot beyond Kendal keeper Craig Dootson to make it 3-0.
A half-volley by Zach Clark was easily collected by Ashton shot-stopper Paul Phillips on the stroke of half time after the Ashton keeper punched at a Jack Cook free kick, but Kendal had a mountain to climb in the second half.
They almost began that ascent immediately when Martin Grundy played a fantastic ball to Clark, whose excellent first touch gave him space, and his effort from 30 yards came very close to the upright.
But immediately after that chance, Ashton all but finished the game off when Sherriff got his second goal, arriving at the back post from a Johnson cross after 47 minutes, and Ashton looked like they could give Kendal an embarrassing night.
But there was a mixture of Ashton taking their foot off the gas and the Black and Whites beginning to play some good football as they played their way back in the game to ensure a drubbing would not be handed to them.
Grundy had a half-chance in the 54th minute after Adam Freeland won a tackle and fed him the ball, while Simon Rawnsley’s shot was rendered powerless when an Ashton defender nipped in at the last second to take the sting off the effort and allow Phillips to gather easily a minute later.
Sherriff was close to hitting the woodwork for Ashton after 57 minutes but the visitors were on top as Maison McGeechan’s fantastic effort from 25 yards only just went wide with Phillips fully stretched.
In the 62nd minute, McGeechan pulled one back for Kendal when he got on the end of Rawnsley’s scuffed shot at the back post after good work from Clark on the left to make it 4-1.
Straight after the goal McGeechan’s free kick near the edge of the box was scrambled away, while Rawnsley was a matter of inches away from connecting with a header from a Hoctor free kick after Phillips came and failed to meet the cross.
The last half hour saw Kendal play some nice football but they were unable to fashion another goal, and the Mintcakes returned to Cumbria on the back of a defeat.
Paul Phillips, Alex Frost, Danny Caldecott, Kyle Harrop, Thomas Moore, Chris Lynch (c) (Michael Connors 64), Scott Hogan, Matty Burke, Aaron Burns (Kyle Riley 70), Matty Barlow (Dennis Sherriff 36)
Subs not used: Danny Lambert, Chris Amadi.
Yellow cards: Kyle Harrop, Michael Connors
Craig Dootson, Danny McGahon, Callum Hoctor, Jack Cook, Kevin Brown (c), Adam Freeland, Martin Grundy, Zach Clark, Tom Williams, Simon Rawnsley, Maison McGeechan
Subs: Mike Rushton for Williams (45), Corry Vickers for Grundy (69), Dan Ferguson for Cook (86)
Subs not used: Liam Shields, Dave Foster
Yellow cards: None
Key man: Danny McGahon – Made some crunching tackles and was solid at right back.