Ashton Athletic 1-3 Southport FC
Patrick Lacey’s double ensured that there was no upset on the cards, as Southport set up a final against Colne after overcoming Ashton Athletic.
Ashton showed nervy signs early on in the game and a breakdown in communication between keeper Martin Pearson and defender Adam Howard saw a loose ball end up being picked up by Southport before Jordan Archer saw his volley saved comfortably in the end.
Just moments later, Archer squandered a perfect opportunity to give the Sangrounders the lead as he ghosted in unmarked in the six yard box, but his deaf touch just glanced wide from Morgon Homson-Smith quickfire cross.
Some good build up play saw Ashton forward Marcus Cusani beat the offside trap only for his tight angled shot to be well saved by the legs of Joshua Tibbetts.
With half-time beckoning, Southport took the lead as Lacey was the quickest to react from a corner to glance a header in with too much speed for Pearson to react to it.
In the second half Ashton started to find their rhythm and a set piece tactic nearly paid off. As the Ashton offence huddled onto the goal line before the corner was took, Luca Defreitas-Hansen drifted away from his marker as he came back out only for his header to steer wide of the left-hand post.
As Ashton continued to give a good account of themselves midfielder Charlie Munro tried his luck from 20 yards after letting the ball go across his body before striking straight down the gullet of Tibbetts.
While Munro might not have been able to beat Tibbetts from distance, Cusani had no problem in bringing the game level. After great footwork allowed Cusani to form some space for himself, before firing a unstoppable effort into the top corner which clipped the underside of the bar on the way in.
It didn’t take long after for Southport to regain their lead as again Ashton were caught out from a corner. An initial good save from Pearson saw a goalmouth scramble in the six yard box before Lacey managed to get the final touch and get it over the line.
Southport continued to press and Archer was unfortunate not to finish off a well polished attack as Devarn Green's chipped cross into the 12 yard area found Archer only for his diving header to crash onto the bar.
Defender Jordan Richards very nearly pinched the goal of the night award as a short corner saw the full back unleash a venomous strike from the edge of the box across goal only to be met by the outstretched glove of Pearson to tip it away from the top left corner.
Archer did eventually get his goal as Green managed again to find his number ten in space in the box and he made no mistake in heading the far corner.
Southport’s win means they will face Colne FC at the University of Bolton Stadium in the final of the Partners Foundation Challenge Trophy on April 29th.
Ashton Athletic FC
Pearson, Guffogg, Howard, Cringle, Defreitas-Hansen, Wilson, Reid, Munro, Gilchrist, Cusani, Nicholson
Bandell, Smith, McLoughlin, Holden, Raines
Tibbetts, Richards, Ogle, Parry, Platt, Lacey, Green, Davies, Homson-Smith, Archer, Charles
Bauress, Morgan, Astles, Sampson, Hanford