County went down by a single goal to Evo-Stik Premier side Ashton United on Tuesday, as Jim Gannon opted to provide game time to a number of first-team fringe players.
Gannon gave starts to Ian Ormson, Scott Duxbury, Adam Etches, George West, Tom Whitty, Adam Thomas and Harry Brazel, with the former Northwich manager looking to utilise and test his whole squad prior to the beginning of the season in August.
Stephen O’Halloran also returned after missing the Preston North End game whilst Harry Winter continued in captaining the side.
The first half saw a minimal amount of chances with some good interlinking play from the young Hatters side, but it was during the second half that the game came to life.
County were looking the more likely to break the deadlock as the game became more open, Harry Winter could have scored on the volley and Stephen O’Halloran headed just over from an Adam Thomas inswinging corner.
But it was Ashton that took the lead with 15 minutes to play. A Scott Duxbury tackle resulted in a penalty awarded and whilst Alex Johnson’s spot-kick was saved from the ever-reliable Ian Ormson, the rebound was duly converted.
County then had their own penalty after Duxbury was held in the box, but striker George West’s effort was saved before smashing the rebound against the cross bar, the the bemusement of the watching County fans.
An injury to Tom Whitty will be one of the minor disappointments of the night, with the youngster coming off midway through the second half after receiving treatment. But overall, a useful exercise for Gannon and his squad.
Whilst The Hatters didn’t walk away with victory, a number of players took their chance to impress the Gaffer and will be hoping to build on the performance as County’s pre-season schedule hots up over the next couple of weeks.
FT: Ashton 1-0 County
Squad: Ormson, Minihan (Jackson, 73), Duxbury, Winter (Capt.), O’Halloran, Smalley, Etches (Downing, 59), Whitty (Peach, 66), Thomas (Holt, 73), Brazel, West.
Unused Substitutes: Gorst