Ambergate stay on top after win

Ambergate 2

Hilton Harriers 0

Ambergate FC were made to work hard for three points on Saturday by a Hilton Harriers side who were better than their Midlands Regional Alliance Division Two league position suggests.

The first half was a scrappy affair as both teams struggled to get any passes going on the wet pitch. On a number of occasions, Ambergate’s final ball was lacking as the wet surface took it away and beyond the forward line.

Ambergate’s first real chance came as Andy Stevenson put Josh Squires through with a defence splitting pass. Squires went through on goal and looked to round the ‘keeper but took an extra touch which allowed a defender to get back. Squires did get his shot away but it was comfortably saved.

As the first half was coming into the latter stages, Ambergate got their breakthrough. Gary Conway got in behind the Hilton right back but his cross was cut out for a corner.

Shaun Bestwick took the corner which was won at the front post by Craig Tipton who headed it towards the back post,it hit a Hilton player on the hand and the referee eventually gave the goal.

The second half looked more promising for Ambergate as chances were being made and Bestwick, Stevenson and Waldron all went close with efforts.

The decisive second goal did not seem to be arriving and Ambergate were being made to grind it out and hang on to a precious three points.

Hilton carried on trying to hit Ambergate on the break and could have pinched an equaliser if it was not for a couple of last ditch tackles from Craig Tipton.

With five minutes left, Hilton won a free-kick just outside the area on the right. The ball came in and was won cleanly by a Hilton player, who powered a header low from six yards out only to see Jason Hooley pull off what can only be described as a “world class” save to keep Ambergate’s noses in front.

Only a few minutes after, the game was finally sealed. Richard Clark swung a corner in which was not cleared well and Carl Harrison pounced on the loose ball and tucked it away in the bottom corner.

The final whistle brought to an end a tough match for Ambergate but they can be delighted with the three points, which keep them on top of the table.

They head into two weekends of cup matches, starting with an away trip to Ripley Town on Saturday in the last 16 of the MRA Challenge Cup (1.30pm kick off).