ASHBOURNE FC got their home campaign up and running with a 2-1 win over Sandbach United that extends their winning run to three matches.
Before the game, the home side talked about starting quickly and not conceding an early goal, which had happened in a number of previous games this season.
However, the players did not seem to take the advice on board and the team were behind after 10 minutes when a long throw from the left came into the six-yard area and a Sandbach head rose highest to nod home.
Ashbourne soon found their stride and the frailties in the visitors’ defence were evident early in the game.
With a high defensive line, the balls over the top from Dec Bacon and Nick Birds in midfield were proving hard for them to deal with, but Sean Milward and Steve Williams were both guilty of being offside when looking along the line.
The home side were forced into an early change when full-back Richard Wright limped off after a nasty tackle which could easily have resulted in a red card being shown instead of yellow.
Sam Howard came on as the replacement with Charles Mann moving to centre back and Jon Cragg going out to leftback.
Birds nearly made the breakthrough when he made a great run from midfield, beating four players before hitting a weak shot.
For all their possession in the opening 30 minutes, Ashbourne did not test the visiting keeper often enough and Sandbach looked dangerous on the break with firstly Steve Sellers just doing enough to deny the striker a clear opportunity and then seeing a shot go wide of the postfrom six yards.
On 35 minutes Ashbourne were back on level terms when yet another ball over the top found the run of Howard, who touched the ball around the onrushing keeper before calmly rolling into an empty net.
The second half was one way traffic with Ashbourne creating numerous chances but failing to turn them into goals with Milward seeing two good chances go to waste, firstly when turning inside and seeing his effort go over the bar and then the keeper saving well.
Winger Paul Spencer also had a couple of opportunities, firstly when he did well to weave his way through but his effort was tame straight at the keeper, and shortly afterwards a cross from the left found him at the back post , but his header from close range when under pressure went well wide.
Rafael Baran came on for the tiring Milward for the last 15 minutes with Ashbourne looking to find the elusive winner.
Just when the home fans were beginning to think it was not going to be Ashbourne’s afternoon they got the goal their play deserved when the ball came across the six yard box and Williams was on hand to provide the finish.
On Saturday Ashbourne host Abbey Hulton reserves in the cup, kick off 2.30pm.