Stags can draw on positives after highest finish for 13 years secures FA Cup place

PUBLISHED: 15:05 29 April 2019

Paul Uppington is about to put Ashton & Backwell ahead against Corsham (pic Jo Shepherd)

Paul Uppington is about to put Ashton & Backwell ahead against Corsham (pic Jo Shepherd)

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Ashton & Backwell finished fourth in Toolstation Western League Division One - their highest for 13 years - after a 1-1 draw with Corsham Town at the Lancer Scott Stadium.

Johnathan Bazley scores for Corsham (pic Jo Shepherd)Johnathan Bazley scores for Corsham (pic Jo Shepherd)

And the Stags are now hoping that is enough for them to gain entry into next season's FA Cup qualifying rounds.

Sam Thomas received the supporters' player of the year award before kick-off, with both sides looking to end on a high. But strong winds proved to be a challenge.

The match was played a high tempo throughout with defences, under the watchful eye of captain Joe Bishop and opposite number Zac Costello well marshalled.

Chances were at a premium as Calum Townsend fired wide for the home side, while Harry Walker's free kick was too high.

Tom Press defends for Ashton & Backwell (pic Jo Shepherd)Tom Press defends for Ashton & Backwell (pic Jo Shepherd)

Stags opened the scoring on 25 minutes when Miles Hardidge met a pass from Thomas and helped it on to Paul Uppington in the box, where he produced a calm finish.

And Ashton held onto that advantage until the 56th minute when Corsham caught the home defence flatfooted with a cross into the box and Nick Chandler pushed a pass on to Jonathan Bazley to poke in from close range.

Both sides had half chances in the time that remained, with Walker hitting the bar just after the equaliser.

Walker's lob into the box found Saul Jarrett, who was denied by a vital block on 68 minutes, while Thomas headed off the line to deny Joshua Bright five minutes from time.

Sam Thomas receives his supporters' player of the year award at Ashton & Backwell (pic Mike West)Sam Thomas receives his supporters' player of the year award at Ashton & Backwell (pic Mike West)

Aaron Sainsbury was tested by Bright's half volley in stoppage time, after James White had sent a superbly weighted pass to Jarrett, who cut inside but saw his shot pushed wide by the strong wind.

But Stags finished with 10 men after Dan Elson was given his marching orders during the second half for two bookable offences, which made the point gained all the more sweet.

News of Longwell Green's loss at Radstock filtered through to see Ashton claim fourth place, as James White took the man of the match award.

Ashton & Backwell: Sainsbury, Hardidge (Devoy 79), Walker (Sollars 84), Joe Bishop, Press, White, Thomas, Elson, Uppington (Jones 76), Townsend, Jarrett.

Miles Hardidge challenges (pic Mike West)Miles Hardidge challenges (pic Mike West)

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