Football

Ashton error costs Shrews

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Neil Ashton's calamitous 81st-minute own goal handed Bury a precious first-leg 1-0 lead over Shrewsbury in their Coca-Cola League Two play-off semi-final.

Following a hopeful through-ball, the Shrews left-back got himself into a complete mix-up in defence and in trying to play the ball back to Luke Daniels, inadvertently lobbed his goalkeeper from over 20 yards.

In truth, the result flattered Bury - who failed to have a meaningful effort on target throughout the entire encounter.

Town did not muster much more in an open game devoid of chances and a clear lack of quality in the final third - despite the presence of Grant Holt and Andy Bishop, who have scored 45 goals between them this season.

Ben Davies forced a good stop from Wayne Brown in the first half before Holt saw his follow-up effort hit a post, the latter also being denied by Brown late on.

At Spotland, Gillingham produced a strong defensive performance to hold Rochdale to 0-0 draw in the first leg of their League Two play-off semi-final.

The two sides - two of the most entertaining footballing sides in the Football League's basement division - largely cancelled each other out in an intriguing clash, with clear-cut chances limited throughout.

Although it was Dale who had the better of the threat, it was home keeper Frank Fielding who produced the best two saves, one late in the first half to prevent an own goal and another in the second half to deny Stuart Lewis.

The closest Dale came was through substitutes, as Joe Thompson blazed wide from an angle and Chris Dagnall was well denied by Simon Royce at the near post.

Royce also saved well from Gary Jones' piledriver but the two sides start on an even keel in Sunday evening's second leg.

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Topics:
Shrewsbury Town
Andy Bishop
Football
Chris Dagnall
Simon Royce
Ben Davies
Stuart Lewis
Joe Thompson
Neil Ashton
Gary Jones
Gillingham
League Two
Rochdale
Grant Holt
Wayne Brown
Frank Fielding
Wayne Brown
Luke Daniels

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