So, as kick off looms at a drizzly Moor Lane, Salford City haven't got a goalie as he's come back from his hols and is feeling a bit sick. The youth team shot stopper is hastily handed the gloves but he needn't have worried – Ashton are so busy functionally, methodically running around that they haven't got the creative spark to actually have a shot at goal in open play. Everything comes from free kicks and corners, and their goal after the half hour is a geometrically angled flick into the net from one such route.
Before that we'd seen Salford's Rhodri Giggs almost chip the Ashton goalie from close range, a couple of Cruyff style turns in the midfield and some neat runs by Ashley Kelly. As the first half drew to a close, Salford piled on the pressure and could have drawn level, the forwards taking turns to force saves out of the sprawling Ashton goalie. But at half time the score stubbornly remained at one-nil.
The second half had absolutely nothing of note to write about… zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…Ashton scored again after 15 mins from an almost duplicate geometrically angled flick into the net from a low cross free kick…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz… Then Salford brought on a 16 year old sub with the number 16 on his back – how remarkable is that? No-one seemed to know his name but he had a few good shots at goal and looked well lively. What else? Nothing really…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Ashton brought on about a zillion substitutes who all looked a bit more human and the Tameside team almost made it three when a weak shot somehow found its way onto a post. And that was about it… zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Yes, Ashton United, of the mighty Unibond Premier League, beat Unibond Division One North, Salford City – but hey, it could be worse – we could have to watch them every week…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Highlight of the night? This ace customised shirt commemorating last year's Great Escape. Which says it all really.