A RETURNING Mark Threlfall could not help Barnoldswick as they fell to a 2-0 defeat away at Ashton.
Town started well, Harry Thompson sending a shot fizzing past the Ashton upright after Liam Garbutt had laid the ball back, as early as the second minute.
Both teams were working hard in midfield for the first 15 minutes without troubling either keeper. The first threatening move from Ashton coming after 16 minutes with Carl Addison having a close range shot saved by Marko Marosi in the Town goal.
Ashton were now beginning to pick up the pace and last man Bill Williams made a brilliant tackle to stop a threatening one two between Ryan Stewart and Addison.
Town responded after 23 minutes Thompson cleverly chipping the ball through the centre of the Ashton defence, Chris Brinksman in the Ashton goal racing out to the edge of his penalty area and managing to nick the ball away from Garbutt as he appeared to be through on goal.
Further Town pressure saw Brinksman save from a Stewart Airdrie shot. The next few minutes again saw Ashton take command. James Rushton-Woods glancing a header wide when he should have at least hit the target close in. A minute later Ash Alderson was robbed just outside the Town penalty area by Stewart, his shot was only just over the bar from the edge of the area.
Further pressure on the Town goal came when a weak header out of the penalty area went straight to Stewart, his fierce shot went across the face of the Town goal just going the wrong side of the post for a goal kick.
Town’s only effort on goal was a cross come shot from Liam Blades that had Brinksman diving to his right to palm the ball away from goal. But the half finished with Michael Downing firing in towards the near post, Marosi having to make a good save.
Three minutes into the second half saw Billy Priestley bring down the Ashton captain Stewart, taking the man rather than the ball. Mark Bailey stepping up to score from the penalty spot.
Town responded, Jack Overson doing well down the Ashton left, his cross was saved at full stretch by Brinksman.
Town then made a double substitution after 59 minutes, Billy Priestley and Bill Williams making way for Lewis Jordan and Mark Threlfall.
It seemed as the Town defence was reorganising Ashton struck again two minutes later, James Waldron the Ashton fullback picking a poor clearance up and making a good one two with a team mate, finding himself on the byeline his cross beat Marosi leaving Bailey at the far post with a simple tap in.
FINAL SCORE: Ashton Athletic 2, Barnoldswick Town 0