Match Report: Ashton Athletic 6 Congleton Town 2
Six of the best for the Yellows
Ashton Athletic welcomed Congleton Town to Brocstedes Park looking to make amends for Tuesday's dismal performance against Atherton Collieries and to get their league campaign back on track.
Sam Bailey dropped into defence replacing Ross Shepherd, who dropped to the bench with a slight hamstring injury. Matt Farnworth came into midfield to replace Sam Bailey and Adam Gilchrist replaced Danny Regan, who was on the bench.
The Yellows started brightly with chances from Isaac Kusaloka and Joel Brownhill not troubling the keeper and then they had to be alert to clear a cross from the Bears attack.
The breakthrough came in the 4th minute. Paul Watson crosses from right in box, the ball bounces up and is hooked towards the goal by Adam Gilchrist finding the back of the net after a weak effort by goalkeeper Ross Heywood.
Congleton tried to hit back straight away with a free kick that Martin Pearson collected easily. They then had a succession of corners that Luke Holden cleared to safety. Declan Fletcher was released down the left hand side of the Ashton box and tried to curl the ball right footed into the left corner of Martin Pearson's net. Pearson made a good save one handed and collected the ball. The Bears were unable to make their possession count for anything as another good chance was fired well over the bar.
In the 23rd minute, the Bears were made to pay for their inability to convert their chances. Marcus Cusani gets the ball on the right of the box and back heeled it to Isaac Kusaloka who controls the ball with his first touch, shoots and scores with his second to make it 2-0 to the Yellows. It was almost 3-0 3 minutes later but Adam Gilchrist's shot hit the ground and into Ross Heywood's arms.
Congleton did pull a goal back on 28 minutes. A Declan Fletcher shot was saved at the near post for a corner. From the corner the cross is deflected and hits James Kirkby's head and nestles in the net at the near post.
Ashton finished the first half the stronger of the 2 teams but they couldn't get a clear chance as the Congleton defence cleared the danger. The Bears had chances to level the score but a Jack Pritchard cross was fired across goal with no one in the box to convert the chance and a free kick in a dangerous area was hit to the far post but it was too strong for anyone to get on the end of it.
HT: Ashton Athletic 2 Congleton Town 1
The second half started like the first half ended. Ashton starting the half strongly and could have extended the lead straight away when Adam Gilchrist charged through the Congleton defence but Michael Dixon made a good save and tipped the ball over the bar for a corner. The resulting corner was cleared by the Bears defence.
On 52 minutes it was 3-1. Marcus Cusani lobs the defence to put Isaac Kusaloka into the penalty box in front of goal, and his lob goes over the advancing keeper and into the net.
Congleton started to get more into the game but were unable to convert their possession into clear cut chances. Any crosses that came into the Ashton box were dealt with by Luke Holden and Martin Pearson.
Isaac Kusaloka completed his 2nd hat trick of the season in the 73rd minute. He was released down the right wing by Paul Watson. He took the ball to the goal line and then somehow past three defenders to place his shot into the roof of the net from an impossible angle. A wonderful goal and probably likely to be goal of the season.
With 10 minutes to go, Kusaloka pulled a muscle chasing after a ball down the wing. He was unable to continue, but with all the subs used the Yellows were down to 10 men for the remainder of the game. That didn't deter the Yellows as on 88 minutes a long high ball to the edge of the box causes confusion in the Congleton defence allowing Danny Regan to take the ball past his man a fire past the keeper into the net.
A minute later some good interchange down the left puts Adam Howard into the box and sees him calmly slot the ball past the keeper for a rare goal from the left back and his first of the season.
The final action of the match saw a silly goal given away by the Ashton defence after Martin Pearson, Luke Holden and Sam Bailey attempt the play the ball out of defence following a backpass to the keeper. The ball falls to Brian Matthews who despite an attempt to recover the situation by the denece, slots the ball home for a consolation goal.
FT: Ashton Athletic 6 Congleton Town 2