Trafford 4 Frickley Athletic 1

First published in Trafford Sport

A DEPLETED Trafford side produced a magnificent performance on Saturday to defeat Frickley 4-1 and ease any fears of relegation.

Suspensions had ruled out Andy Smart, Callum Jones, Tom Schofield and Rory Fallon, but the home side made light of this and attacked from the start.

Simon Hackney volleyed just over in the 12th minute whilst at the other end Tom Read saved well to deny Gavin Allott.

Trafford stormed ahead in the 25th minute when a superb pass by Paul Ashton split open the Frickley defence and Michael Oates advanced to coolly place the ball past James Hitchcock.

Two minutes later Tom Read caused alarm in the home ranks with a miskick but retrieved the situation with a brave save from Allott.

The end to end action continued with Oates releasing Paul Ashton on the half hour mark but after rounding the keeper, the latter clipped his angled drive against the crossbar.

Nia Bayunu then curled an exquisite left footed chip towards the top corner but saw Hitchcock tip the ball over and the under-fire visiting keeper was then called into action to deal with three long range efforts by Shelton Payne.

However, the visitors were still very much in the game and just before half time Luke Hinsley struck a great drive from 20 yards that Tom Read saved at full length.

The opening minutes of the second period were rather scrappy although Steve Mason was unlucky not to connect cleanly with a Payne free kick and Read saved once more to deny Jake Picton from close range.

In the 67th minute Oates struck again when Shelton Payne curled a low shot in from the left, Hitchcock could only parry, and the home striker pounced to tap in from four yards.

Six minutes later the points were sealed when the impressive Ashton, playing in a more central role, released Martyn Andrews who turned a Frickley defender inside out before firing hard and low past Hitchcock.

In the 83rd minute Ashton saw his shot saved by the feet of Hitchcock and when the ball was only half cleared Shelton Payne brilliantly skipped past four defenders before clipping the ball sublimely over the advancing keeper for a quite magnificent goal.

Payne almost struck again four minutes later but was denied by a brave save by the shell-shocked Hitchcock and deep into injury time the visitors struck a consolation goal when Trafford failed to clear a left wing corner and Jake Picton fired hard and low into the bottom corner.

Despite this, Trafford were delighted both with the victory and the quality of their performance and they will be hoping for a similar display on Saturday when they travel over to Merseyside to play league leaders Skelmersdale United.

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