Lancaster City are out of the FA Cup at the third qualifying round stage after two second half goals saw Ashton United through to the next round.
The visitors did start the game brightly as Alex Byrne looked energetic down the left. Byrne cut inside and looked to bend his shot to the far post but could only force Andre Mendes into a comfortable claim inside the opening five minutes.
Byrne was at it again only moments after. He was released from midfield and looked to square the ball to Marcus Cusani who saw his shot blocked brilliantly on the line and the following rebound from Andreas Bianga could only reach the houses behind the Neil Marshall Legend Stand.
Mark Fell’s side looked to edge themselves in the game through Jake Connelly. The Lancaster man forced his way out wide and looked to cause panic amongst the Ashton defence. After twisting and turning, dodging tackles Connelly opened his body up for a shot but could only fire wide of the post.
As the 17th minute arrived, Sam Bailey produced a creative spark the game was lacking. Bailey played in a wonderful cross from his right back position which left the goalkeeper in two minds. Unfortunately for the Dolly Blues, no one could convert and the visitors cleared.
Lancaster City’s attacking spell continued as David Norris set Jake Connelly free and bearing down on goal. Connelly took aim but his effort was well kept out by Luke Simpson in goal. Only minutes after, Lancaster City had a dangerous free kick 18 yards out. Sam Bailey’s first effort struck the wall before his follow up took a nasty deflection off the Ashton defenders, which saw the ball wrong foot Simpson who managed to claw the ball away to safety for a Dolly Blue corner.
Just before the break, Andre Mendes came to Lancaster City’s defence with a brilliant save. A corner taken just in front of the scoreboard was whipped in with venom and met by the head of Dan Cowan who looked certain to score. Andre Mendes clawed the ball away from the top corner to keep the score level with almost five minutes left to play.
There was still time before the break for Ashton to hit the back of the net. Alex Byrne played in a cross which was met by Jason Gilchrist who did convert. Before any celebrations could ensue, the linesman on the far side raised his flag to deny the goal.
A stalemate at the break, despite a good attacking spell from the Dolly Blues.
The second half began with both teams maintaining possession and defending well. Lancaster City’s first chance came just before the hour mark through David Norris. A good counter move and intricate football allowed Norris to be free in the box with only the goal to aim at. Norris struck fiercely but could only hit the side netting for Lancaster’s best chance.
On the hour, Ashton United had their first goal. Alex Byrne hit the Dolly Blues on the counter down the right hand side and played a low ball past Mendes where Jason Gilchrist was on hand to tap home from close range.
Simon Grand came close to equalising on his 700th career appearance. A deep cross drop the right evaded everyone but Grand looked to stretch out to reach it and turn it goal wards but was unable to make a connection with the ball.
With 15 minutes left to play, the visitors had their second. Marcus Cusani found himself out wide on the left after the ball was won back in midfield. He spotted first scorer Gilchrist on the edge of the area who took aim and scored despite Andre Mendes getting a good hand on the ball.
With the game coming to a close, Lancaster City thought they had pulled a goal back. Charlie Bailey forced a good save from Luke Simpson who could only parry it out for a corner. The following set piece was on target but Simpson produced a good reaction save to preserve his clean sheet.
The game ended after an addition eight added minutes and Lancaster City’s Emirates FA Cup run ended after two Jason Gilchrist strikes. Up next for Mark Fell and his side is an FA Trophy tie with City of Liverpool FC at the Giant Axe.