MATCH PREVIEW Stourbridge v Ashton United
Monday 6th February 2017 @ 11:17 by Mark Phillip
Football Sports

Ashton United return to Evo-Stik Premier Division action this evening with a long trip to an in-form Stourbridge.

Both sides enter the game on the back of victories, as Ashton secured a much-needed 3-1 victory over Sutton Coldfield Town on Saturday to keep their play-off chances alive, while Stourbridge maintained their fine form with a 2-0 win over Coalville Town.

Victory on Saturday has lifted the Robins to 14th in the table and just seven points outside the playoff zone, while Stourbridge – who came to prominence this season with a fantastic FA Cup run which ended at League two Wycombe Wanderers at the start of January – remain ten points adrift of league leaders Blyth Spartans in fourth spot.

Tonight’s fixture will be massively important for both sides as they go in search of a playoff spot this season.

For Ashton, securing a playoff spot for a fourth consecutive season will undoubtedly be regarded as a huge achievement – especially when taking into account the player and managerial upheaval which has taken place at Hurst Cross over the past five months.

To their credit, Jody Banim and Will Haining have coped remarkably well since taking the managerial role in September.

Despite being forced to contend with a raft of players departing the club to join Paul Phillips and Steve Halford at Stalybridge Celtic, the duo have recruited a crop of new players which, based on recent performances, have every chance of securing a playoff spot this season.

The Robins will once again be relying on the services of Jack Dyche, Matthew Chadwick and Ryan Crowther this evening who, collectively, have notched eight goals in the past four league games.

However, the trio will undoubtedly have their work cut out for them, as Stourbridge boast the second best defensive record in the league having shipped just 29 goals this season.

As far as tonight’s opponents are concerned, they have every chance of making a charge on the title this season – but only if they can maintain the fine form which has seen the club win 10 of their 14 previous league fixtures.

If selected this evening, the leagues leading goalscorer, Luke Benbow, will be Ashton’s main concern having notched 21 times this season.

Benbow scored both goals in the Glassboys’ 2-0 victory over Coalville Town on Saturday.

Tonight’s fixture is taking place at the War Memorial Athletic Ground.

Kick-off: 7.45pm