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DIVISION TWO: Three way split at the summit
6:00am Tuesday 10th April 2012 in Sport
Steeple Ashton Rangers moved to the top of Division Two following their 3-2 victory away at Corsham United, who may have lost one battle in the race for the title but with three games remaining they could still finish top of the pile should other results in the next few weeks go their way.
In the opening stages, Steeple Ashton's hard work and closing down was paying off as Corsham were unable to settle on the ball and it was the away team who created two early chances.
Firstly, Scott Ball was found unmarked in the box from a Mike Ritson free kick but Ball put the ball wide on the volley from 12 yards.
Ashton's next chance fell to another defender and this time Adam Potter, who picked up on a loose ball in the box on the byline, neatly rounded a sliding defender but his strike found the side netting.
Corsham's first opportunity fell to top scorer Joe Pritchard - a poor kick by Ashton keeper Nathan Taylor was picked up on the left by Corsham, the ball was squared to Pritchard unmarked six yards out but his strike was saved brilliantly by Taylor, albeit with his face.
On the half-hour mark, Ashton took the lead when Marc Sheppard picked the ball up deep and drove at the Corsham defence before coolly converting across the Corsham keeper.
Ashton soon doubled their lead and it was Sheppard involved again although this time as the provider, with his ball over the top finding Jake Sainsbury, who showed skill and composure to neatly dink and round the onrushing keeper and slot the ball into an empty net.
10 minutes into the second period, Ashton pulled further ahead - a long throw in by Sheppard found Sam Steff six yards out and his powerful header was well saved, but Matt Grist was on hand and from three yards, he fired the ball into the roof of the net.
Corsham made changes and this seemed to spark their game into life and start a potential comeback.
Substitute Jake Marshall almost made an instant impact on the game when his header from 12 yards hit against the underside of the bar before bouncing down into the arms of Nathan Taylor.
Five minutes later, Taylor was called into action again when a driven corner was headed towards goal but neat reaction saw him push the ball onto defender Ball on the line and between them, they scrambled the ball away.
Corsham's continuous pressure soon paid off - Marshall found himself 12 yards out and with time to turn he struck the ball past the diving Taylor.
Then, with 10 minutes to go, Corsham grabbed a second goal to set up a tense finale to the match; Jay Murphy caught a dropping ball on the volley low and drilled home low and hard into the bottom corner.
Ashton were under pressure in the closing stages but they defended solidly and saw out the game to give them a much needed and deserved two points in their bid for silverware.
The Wren FC 6 Miller Sports 2
Wren who lost the reverse fixture 7-0, took the lead through Martyn Powell.
Manager Tim Knight scored for the 14th successive season when he netted from a free kick to restore parity.
The second half saw Miller take the lead thanks to a second from Knight who made no mistake from the penalty spot, however that seemed to spur the Wren on and they showed great commitment as they turned things around to claim victory.
Jamie-Lloyd Davies drew them level when he slotted home from the penalty spot and then he netted a second that saw him outpace his marker before chipping the keeper put his team in front.
Martyn Powell made it 4-2 when he headed home a Davies corner. Davies completed his hat-trick with a brilliant strike that saw him flick the ball over a defender before drilling home into the bottom corner and his fourth of the morning made up Wren’s half dozen - this time he rolled the ball across the keeper and into the empty net for another quality finish.