Stourbridge 1 Ashton United 2
The Glassboys lost ground in the play-off race as Ashton triumphed 2-1 in an eventful game at the War Memorial Ground.
Ashton were two goals and a man to the good by the interval, with Stourbridge skipper Stuart Pierpoint dismissed after conceding the penalty that led to the opening goal, and despite a strong second half fightback they were unable to salvage anything from the game.
Manager Gary Hackett named the same sixteen from Saturday's match at Workington, clearly showing faith in the line-up that had battled hard for a deserved point.
It was the visitors who generally played the more composed football in the first half, with lone striker James Dean a focal point for their attacks, but Stourbridge largely created, and could not take, the better chances and half-chances.
Karl Hawley was first to threaten on 7 minutes when Chris Lait found him twenty yards out, but he stumbled slightly and his shot was straight at Paul Phillips in the Robins' goal, whilst the visitors' first effort on goal came from Dean who tried an ambitious shot on the turn from 40 yards out two minutes later which drifted wide of goal.
Good work by Matt Dodd down the right on 23 minutes led to a chance for Hawley, but his shot was blocked at close quarters by Joe Connor, and then Hawley fed Justin Richards who skewed his shot horribly wide from 20 yards. Dean again caused problems at the other end, meanwhile, skipping past Dan Scarr before being denied by a timely interception from Pierpoint.
But the Glassboys captain was not so fortunate two minutes later as the game took a significant turn in Ashton's favour. Dean burst into the box and bore down on goal, only for Pierpoint to bundle him over. It may have been that the striker had pushed the ball a little too far ahead of himself, and Gould might have been favourite to claim it, but Pierpoint's challenge looked clumsy at best, and referee Matthew Jones had no doubts about brandishing his red card before Chris Baguley comprehensively despatched the spot kick past Gould.
Almost instantly, Ashton could have been further ahead as Matt Chadwick broke down the left before forcing a fine save from Gould as the visitors looked to drive home their advantage.
Stourbridge reorganised, with Joe Hull coming off the bench to replace Lait and slot into the back four, but in keeping Hawley and Richards up front there was a risk in leaving themselves light in midfield. The positive approach was vindicated for a spell though, as the Glassboys pushed forwards, with Green involved in a good move that led to Hawley, in space at the far post, unable to get enough power on his shot to trouble Phillips.
However, Stourbridge were undone again four minutes from the break, as that man Dean sprung the offside trap and calmly beat Gould from the edge of the area to give his team breathing space.
The half ended with Sean Geddes's shot from 20 yards landing on the roof of the Shed, amid clear signs of frustration from the Glassboys.
The second half began with the Glassboys continuing to have the better of the possession and territory, although, if truth be told, the visitors looked happy with the scoreline, and content to hold what they had, keeping Stourbridge at arms' length by and large. Meanwhile, the Stourbridge back-line coped well with Ashton's inevitable incursions, given that there were inevitably going to be gaps left as the home side took risks in pushing forward.
It was almost 20 minutes before Stourbridge could force an attempt on goal, and when they did so, a defender got enough of a block on Hawley's shot to take any pace off the ball and make Phillips's task straightforward.
But the Glassboys did eventually get some reward for their probing with fourteen minutes left on the clock. Hawley fed Dodd down the right and his cross to the far post was met with a thumping volley from the fast-arriving Junior Smikle that gave Phillips no chance whatsoever.
The introduction of Ashley Vincent for Richards pepped the Stourbridge attack up, and it was from Vincent's flick-on in the 83rd minute that Hawley tried a lob from 20 yards that had just too much on it to dip under the crossbar. That apart, however, Stourbridge could not penetrate a resilient Robins defence that dealt well with any ball into the area.