Korie-Butler returns to haunt his old club in dramatic finale to match
Widnes FC 2 Ashton Athletic 2 WIDNES FC were held to a 2-2 draw by Ashton Athletic at the Select Security Stadium last Saturday afternoon in a pulsating Hallmark Security League Premier Division contest.
Widnes held a 2-0 lead at the break only for Dale Korie-Butler to return to haunt his former side, netting twice in the last 20 minutes to rescue a point for the visitors.
After a cagey start to the game, it was Widnes who opened the scoring. After his initial corner was only half-cleared, Luke Edwards floated a delicious centre into the area that was directed against an upright by the head of Chad Whyte. Kev Pollard, marking his first appearance of the season, was quickest to react inside the six-yard area to prod the ball home.
Colin Quirk then flashed a shot wide of the target before both goalkeepers were called into action. Joel Brownhill forced Ryan Taylor into a decent stop before Sam Sheen’s cross-turned-shot nearly caught Martin Pearson out but the Ashton No1 managed to fingertip the shot over for an unproductive flag-kick.
Widnes extended their advantage following the midway point of the half with a fine display of counterattacking football.
After Widnes routinely dealt with an Ashton corner, Kev Towey released Quirk into space who surged forward as the hosts swiftly turned defence into attack.
Right-back Jay Roberts busted a gut to support Quirk, latching on to a well-weighted through-ball before arrowing a shot into the net with an assist from the foot of the post.
Either side of the half-hour mark, both sides were denied by the woodwork. Joshua Nicholson had time and space on the edge of the ‘D’ to strike a shot against the bar before Alex Davies’s cross found Quirk in the area, whose powerful effort rebounded off the bar as the half drew to a close at a frenetic pace.
The second half was relatively tame in comparison. After a sloppy opening, Widnes spurned a great chance on the hour to bag a third. Striker Whyte was played through on goal by substitute Chris Lomax, only to direct his shot against the body of Pearson who got down quickly to make the save.
Ashton set up a tantalising last 20 minutes when they halved the deficit in the 70th minute. Former Widnes man Korie-Butler had time on the edge of the area to curl an effort into the bottom corner to give his side a lifeline.
The visitors were all of a sudden in the ascendency as they went in search of an equaliser. The unmarked Callum Wilson nodded wide from close-range when he perhaps should have done better, before Brownhill was denied by the post twice inside three minutes.
The Ashton striker rose highest to glance a header against the foot of an upright 11 minutes from time before again directing a header against the woodwork, only to agonisingly watch the ball trickle along the goalline before being collected by the grateful Taylor.
Ashton could not believe their luck five minutes from time as the woodwork once again came to Widnes’s rescue.
Slack defending from Widnes allowed Nicholson to win a free header that bounced back off the post, allowing the hosts to clear any resulting danger.
Inside stoppage-time, Ashton netted an equaliser.
A cross was lofted into the area where Korie-Butler was on-hand to guide a header inside of the near-post.
Drama became controversy as Widnes thought they had won the game less than 60 seconds later.
Even from high in the stands in the Select Security Stadium it seemed clear that Quirk’s audacious volley had travelled well over the line behind goalkeeper Pearson, only for referee Robert Wainwright and his assistant on the far side of the field to think otherwise.