Ashton Athletic travelled to Padiham on Wednesday looking to add to their good 3-2 victory over Hanley Town on 23/8/16. The Yellows made 2 enforced changes to the team that played on Saturday, Michael Mylona came in for Adam Howard at left back and Sam Bailey replaced the injured Paul Watson in midfield. Aaron Cringle returned to the squad and was on the bench with Joe Sargent, Charlie Middlemore, Ryan Rowland and Dougie Pitts.
Ashton were made to pay for another slow start. The ball was crossed into the box and was met by Alexander Murphy, who headed the ball to James Dean who put The Storks into the lead in the 3rd minute. Aaron Taylor fired a shot over the bar before Martin Pearson was forced to make a save from the same player. Brandon Barski put a cross in from the left and Taylor volleyed a shot at goal which Pearson saved.
The Yellows were at sixes and sevens until they started to get into the game in the 20th minute. Danny Smith forced a save from Michael Donlan and Ashton had a few more chances but couldn't hit the target. Danny Regan, Joel Brownhill and Isaac Kusaloka firing over the bar and Danny Smith shooting wide.
Padiham had good chances in the following 10 minutes. Good defending by Calum Wilson clearing a Alexander Murphy throughball for a corner, Martin Pearson saving once again from an Aaron Taylor shot and The Storks thought they had doubled the lead on 33 minutes. The ball was cleared off the line by Michael Mylona and the Padiham players claimed that it had crossed the line, but the ref didn't give the goal and the score stayed at 1-0.
Ashton levelled the score 5 minutes before half time. The ball was played into the box to Joel Brownhill, who passed it to Danny Smith. Smith played Isaac Kusaloka through and he slotted the ball past Michael Donlan in the Padiham goal. The Yellows could have taken the lead just before the half time whistle, but Danny Smith's shot was cleared for a corner.
Half Time: Padiham 1 Ashton Athletic 1
Martin Pearson kept the score level after the break, when Aaron Taylor was put through on goal and saw his fierce shot saved by the tall keeper a minute before The Yellows took the lead. Isaac Kusaloka was fouled on the left hand touchline and the resulting free kick was met by Danny Smith. Smith headed it into the path of the unmarked Isaac Kusaloka, who fired the ball into the corner of the net.
A minute later, The Yellows grabbed another goal. Michael Donlan made a good save from a Chris Webster long range shot and the resulting corner was fired in by Danny Smith and Joel Brownhill headed in to score his 3rd goal of the season.
2 minutes later, the score was 3-2. The ball was played in from the left hand side and James Dean was free at the back post to head in for his 2nd of the game.
The game opened up and from then on it was end to end action. James Dean almost completed his hat-trick with a neat back-healed flick, but the ball went agonisingly wide. Both teams had a shot for a penalty. A Jordan Armstrong cross was met by James Dean's head but his chance was blocked by Ben Kay and the Padiham players claimed for handball but the ref waved play on. The ball was then played forward by Danny Regan for Joel Brownhill who was challenged by the Padiham defender in the area. Brownhill claimed that he was fouled but the ref played on.
Ashton made it 4-2 in the 73rd minute. Danny Regan made an excellent run down the touchline and drove a low cross into the goalmouth. Isaac Kusaloka thought that he had his 2nd hat-trick in 2 games but he was beaten to the ball by a Padiham defender, who turned it into his own net.
The game petered out in the final 10 minutes and The Yellows held on for an excellent 4-2 win against a good Padiham side.
Full Time Padiham 2 Ashton Athletic 4
Updated 00:13 - 2 Sep 2016 by Peter Barton