Ashton and Backwell stretch their unbeaten run after 1-1 draw with Hengrove Athletic
- Credit: Archant
Ashton and Backwell stretched their unbeaten run to five games after being held to a 1-1 draw on Derby Day by Hengrove Athletic at Paprika Park.
If the Stags are to fulfil their potential as promotion candidates then they have to win games like these, against a Hengrove side floundering at the wrong end of the table and it was the hosts who had the first chance of the game.
Sam Thomas fed Saul Jarrett who provided the ball to Calum Townsend who shaped to shoot but played in Jarrett who shot over.
Charlie Saunders steamed down the right flank and gave the ball to Townsend supplying Jamie White, who lacked the accuracy in front of goal.
The Stags looked to have been awarded a penalty after 18 minutes but the referee reversed his decision after speaking to his assistant.
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Time and again the Stuart Jones's men threatened but could not convert and Thomas's delightful cross after 22 minutes found Connor Saunders's head as he darted into the box, but Carl Bush made the save.
And it was the hosts who took a well deserved lead in the 40th minute.
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Jarrett, who picked the ball 20 yards out on the right, found Harry Walker down the left and he scythed through the home defence before shooting low via a deflection to end up past Bush and into the back of the net.
However as half time approached, The Grove, who had hit the post through Craig White from a free kick, equalised from another free kick from White after his delivery was turned home for an own goal from Joe Bishop.
After the break Man of the Match Saunders went close to restoring the home side's lead 10 minutes into the second half but right wingback headed just wide from Walker's cross.
A minute later after combining well with Townsend, Saunders drew a good save from Bush before driving into the Athletic half, either trying to score himself or supplying others.
The back four of Spence, Press, Bishop and Walker were strong enough to contain the Athletic frontline and despite constant pressure the second goal would not come.
Manager Jones made three changes in search of the win with George Jones, Charlie Rich and Paul Uppington bought on to hopefully get the winner.
But Uppington was sent off 10 minutes after coming on, following two yellow cards for ludicrous challenges on Bush in the home goal.
And there was one last chance in the first added minute of injury time when a Press cross found Townsend who rounded Bush but saw his shot at an oblique angle hitting the post to sum up the visitors afternoon.
Ashton and Backwell head to Wiltshire on Saturday to take on Devizes Town in their second consecutive away game at Nursteed Road with kick off at 16:45pm.
Lewis Coombes, Charlie Saunders, Harry Walker (Charlie Rich, 63), Joe Bishop, Tom Press, Jacob Spence, Sam Thomas, Connor Saunders (C), Saul Jarrett (Paul Uppington, 68), Calum Townsend and James White (George Jones, 69)