Price's late goal helps Ashton & Backwell United open 2022 with priceless win
- Credit: Josh Thomas
Sam Price's late winner helped Ashton & Backwell United record their first win since October against Cadbury Heath on Monday.
A bumper Bank Holiday crowd of 247 were well entertained in a competitive basement battle with both teams desperate for points to get them out of the Toolstation Western League Premier Division’s relegation places.
With new faces and players returning from injury and suspension there were further changes in the line-up yet, on a very sound surface, the hosts made it very difficult for the visitors to settle or dominate.
Indeed, Heath had very few chances with Tom Anthony, Reece Hedges, Joe Bishop and Billy Devoy in defence in front of the returning Lewis Coombes looked very solid and effectively snuffing out the visitors attack.
The Stags midfield, even with the early loss through injury of captain Connor Saunders, took control of the centre of the pitch.
The Heathens only real chances were a header over from Evan McMillan in the first half and another saved by Coombes from Matt Huxley in the second period.
So having extinguished the visitor’s attacking threat, the problem was converting their dominance in possession into chances and then goals.
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This proved very difficult against Ashley Kendall’s well-marshalled defence, their use of the offside trap frequently frustrated Tony Beecham's side when they attempted to unleash the pace of Conor Hartley and Tyler Jackson on the flanks.
When these two did break free the Heath defence was able to cover the crosses that rained in.
Early on Hartley seized on a defensive error and crossed to Jackson, only for his effort to be blocked,
Jordan Schofield, with an outstretched leg, then thwarted Aaron Anglin’s shot from Hartley's pass in the 66th minute.
The longer the game went on without a goal the more tense the atmosphere became.
Price replaced Charlie Saunders for the last 20 minutes to add a little variety and the pace and urgency clearly increased in the last five minutes.
Hardidge shot narrowly wide, then from a Hogg free-kick Price’s shot was turned round by Schofield for a corner.
The corner ball came across for Hogg to control, the ball finding Anglin who set up Price for a simple close range effort for the only goal of the game, to end their 12-game winless run in all competitions and a winning start to 2022.
United are next in action this Saturday at runaway league leaders Tavistock.