Treble tonic for Ashton duo and Storks!

Ashton Town scored twice in the last 10 minutes to win a quite extraordinary encounter against Darwen.
Action from Billinge's dramatic victory at Crewe (Pic: Terry Pope)Action from Billinge's dramatic victory at Crewe (Pic: Terry Pope)
Action from Billinge's dramatic victory at Crewe (Pic: Terry Pope)

The home side thought they'd taken the lead in the early stages only to be denied by the offside flag.

It was Darwen who nosed in front thanks to a shot from the edge of the box, but Alex Noonan rose highest in the box to level almost immediately.

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Ashton were then rocked as goalkeeper James McCleneghan saw red for taking down the Darwen centre-forward in the area.

The visitors converted the spot-kick, but back came Town and Jay White crossed for a Darwen defender to turn the ball into his own net.

Despite being reduced to nine men at one stage - with White in the sin-bin - Town incredibly forced home a late winner with Noah Robson heading into the top corner.

"We were better with 11 men, we were better with 10 men, we were better with nine men," said Town chairman Mark Hayes

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"That was outstanding again. Against the odds, but never in doubt. When you fight for every ball and never give up, you will get results."

Neighbours Ashton Athletic were also victorious, with a 4-2 win at Squires Gate.

Ethan Beckford gave Athletic a 10th-minute lead by firing into the bottom corner, and he added his second goal within 60 seconds following a quick free-kick.

Gate's attempts to respond were thwarted by an offside flag, and Athletic added a third goal before the half-hour mark.

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The home side pulled one back seconds before the interval, and made it 3-2 10 minutes after the restart.

But Athletic withstood the home onslaught, and made the game safe with goal number four in the last 20 minutes.

Gate saw a goal disallowed for offside in the closing stages as Athletic held on for a great win.

Meanwhile, Billinge picked up their first away victory of the season by the odd goal in nine at Crewe.

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The visitors raced into a two-goal lead inside 20 minutes with man-of-the-match Rob Lamont grabbing a well-taken brace.

Crewe halved the deficit on 26 minutes as Paul Hudson finished neatly, only for Billinge to restore their two-goal lead shortly after half-time.

Richie Allen started the move, driving down the pitch before laying the ball off to Jason McShane, who returned it to Allen, allowing him to slide the ball past Crewe keeper George Brookes.

And Michael Speed made it 4-1 on the hour mark as he collected the ball just inside the area, carried it a few paces and then curled the ball into the top corner.

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With Billinge cruising, the home side suddenly clicked into life and goals from Jordan Amson, Ashley Edwards and a second for Hudson levelled the scores with five minutes still to play.

It looked like the Storks had blown it - and even more so moments later when their keeper Keiran Halliday was sin-binned for dissent.

Defender Liam Fitzgerald took over glove duties and coped well with the few bits that were thrown his way.

And there was one final twist in the tale - with a goal that had to be seen to be believed.

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Billinge skipper Zak Riley picked up the ball just outside his own area and went long looking for substitute Gavin Faucette with a hopeful punt downfield.

Crewe keeper Brookes came for the ball, but somehow missed it completely and it sailed into the net, giving Riley another vital goal for the club - this one from 75 yards!

"It was another good win with some great team goals by the lads," said manager Wayne Wardle.

"Credit to Crewe for their comeback and we got lucky with our winner but to be fair it was about time as we have had zero fortune all season.

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“It was also great to see Liam Bott back on the pitch as a late substitute as he has been out for almost six months with a broken leg.

“Seeing him back on the pitch has given everybody at Billinge a huge boost and it has to be said that he has been a credit to himself, his family and the club in how he has rehabilitated himself.

“Liam’s still a fair way to go and we’ll reintroduce him slowly but he is a big player for the cub and he will be a huge plus for us as the season progresses."

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