Report by Matt Waters

1874 NORTHWICH remain top after a goalless draw versus in-form Ashton Athletic.

The hosts survived a last-minute scare as Ashton had a goal disallowed in the dying moments in a game of very little chances.

> 'Draw a fair result,' says 1874 co-boss

The game started a very cagey affair, with neither side having a clear-cut opportunity as both defences managed to nullify any sort of chance to give the opposition an advantage.

1874 had a slight chance to take the lead as a pass from Scott McGowan found Jake Parker, who put his effort wide of the post and gave Ashton nothing major to worry about.

The majority of the first half was a battle within the midfield as neither side were allowed to play a free-flowing game of football.

Both sides struggled to keep hold of the ball for a substantial amount of time as they matched each other across the pitch.

1874 were forced into an early change and a defensive reshuffle as Ryan Mitchell replaced Lee Jackson after half an hour as he was still suffering from illness. However, this didn’t change the overall outcome on the half, as the sides went into the break at 0-0.

The second half began with a slightly higher tempo from 1874 as the longer the game went on, the more it opened up.

However, the first chance of the half fell for Ashton’s Marcus Cusani, whose audacious strike from 40 yards out narrowly cleared the bar.

On the hour mark, 1874 had their best opportunity of the game so far after some excellent build-up play. Jake Parker couldn’t quite find the net like he has so many times this season as his shot went just wide of the post.

Shortly after, Harry Cain nearly broke the deadlock after his sweetly struck volley from outside of the penalty area rattled the crossbar and bounced clear.

As the game went on, it was nip and tuck for the two sides who lead the form table and Ashton will feel slightly hard done by in the latter stages of the game as they had a goal disallowed in the dying moments for handball as the referee deemed the finish from Wilson was with his hand, which kept the scores 0-0 at full time.