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FA Vase Run Over For Ashville

Villa fell to the sword at fellow Merseyside club, South Liverpool, on Saturday.

Ashville's dramatic cup run came to an end with a bit of a whimper on Saturday afternoon as the Wallasey side lost 3-0 to South Liverpool.

The game had been billed as a Merseyside derby of sorts but the game itself didn't quite live up to the hype. This third round tie was originally scheduled to be played two weeks ago at Ray Parker Stadium but the trusty British weather had other ideas. With two attempts at playing the game at Ashville having failed, the tie was reversed to South Liverpool's Jericho Lane home in Otterspool.

Fans flocked out for what was seen as a hot ticket event with both cup progress and regional pride on the line. The game even garnered the interest of local BBC Radio Merseyside who provided regular, live updates throughout the game. In short, this was the place to be.

The game itself, however, didn't quite live up to the billing with a lacklustre showing from both sides for the majority of the game. Ashville started somewhat brightly though, with Morgan and Maldon both letting off range finders within the first 5 minutes.

Just 3 minutes later and the hosts were applying pressure with a succession of corner kicks, Villa escaped unscathed but South Liverpool could smell blood and went for the kill. Another corner on 11 minutes was headed goalwards where it was parried by O'Brien back into the six yard box. Abdi was on hand to square the ball to a completely unmarked Billington who tapped home into an empty net.

For the next 15 minutes the game turned into a scrappy midfield battle, South looking to double their lead and Villa seeking an equaliser. It took Ashville until the 25th minute to register their first corner of the game and just like the local buses, 4 come along right all at the same time. Villa ultimately didn't make anything of this extended period up the other end of the field and the momentum slowly swung back South Liverpool's way.

With the clock ticking towards 35 minutes, Owen Hough slotted home for the hosts to double the lead and effectively put this tie to bed before half time.

Hough nearly put South Liverpool well over the horizon less than 90 seconds later when he cut inside and fired goalwards, only for his strike partner Billington to get in the way and deflect the shot wide for a goal kick.

The first half chance of note for Ashville came 3 minutes before half time when Peter Morgan, a rare bright spark on a full day for Ashville, got in behind but his shot/cross lacked venom and was straight at Allan in the hosts goal.

Into the half time break the sides went, South Liverpool with a comfortable cushion but you can never count Ashville out. A big 45 ahead.

The second half began as the first had ended, the only difference being a couple of Ashville changes along with a change of tactical approach. This did spark some life back into Ashville but the visitors just couldn't sort it out in the final third.

Electric winger, Lewis Moynes, tried to set the tempo straight from the whistle as less than a minute into the restart he stung the fingertips of Allan with a sizzling strike which was tipped over the bar. The resulting corner caused mayhem in the box and eventually it was stabbed goalwards and, despite his best efforts, Peter Morgan stretched and couldn't quite get the all important touch and out for a goal kick it went.

On 52 minutes the mood was temporarily changed completely after Connor Courtnell failed to get up after a heavy collision and was seemingly unconscious and unresponsive, face first on the ground. The referee called both medical teams on to the pitch as supporters and staff watched on in concern for the left back's welfare. Miraculously, not only did Courtnell leave the field under his own power but he also passed concussion protocol and returned to the field shortly afterwards.

Ashville took advantage of the break in play to gather their thoughts and hit the host's fast and hard upon the restart. Moynes once again involved, this time planting a perfect cross onto the head of Jones. The defender turned striker didn't get enough power or the right direction on the header for it to trouble Allan, instead going straight at the South Liverpool keeper.

Just before the hour mark the game was almost well and truly out of sight, Hough getting out wide and fizzing a gorgeous ball across the face of goal that was just missing that all important touch.

Amazingly, this high stakes derby game didn't see a single yellow card until the 61st minute. Unfortunately that yellow card was for Toby Jones to really compound the visitors woes.

Less than 3 minutes later though and he almost redeemed himself. Peter Morgan forced a mistake inside the South Liverpool box and his stabbed effort was redirected goalwards by Jones, drawing an excellent save from Allan to prevent the goal.

And to cap off what was a crazy ten minutes, there was a penalty...


It was reward for a slightly improved second half performance from Ashville and punishment for a South Liverpool side who had already been deploying time wasting tactics for almost 15 minutes. Ashville finally had a route back into the game. Up steps Tom Hartley and...


Allan got down to his right to save the kick from the veteran defender. It really wasn't Ashville's day.

Things would only get worse as well as on 83 minutes Billington grabbed his second and South Liverpool's third to wrap up the cup tie and send Villa crashing out. The home sides striker was given far too much real estate on the edge of the area and he took full advantage, rifling his effort into the bottom left hand corner of O'Brien's goal.

And that would be all she wrote for Ashville and this years Isuzu FA Vase run. It was dramatic, heroic, joyous but ultimately, heartbreaking. The club did themselves and Wallasey proud and will no doubt be back again next year creating more unforgettable memories.

On the back of Saturday's defeat, Ashville will travel to Droylsden on Tuesday night in what will be Villa's first league game in 66 days. They will then travel to high flying, big budget, Stockport Town on Saturday before welcoming local rivals, Cammell Laird 1907, to Ray Parker Stadium on Boxing Day.

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