Updated: Sep 3
Four goals, two red cards and a point shared between Ashville and Abbey Hey.
A real battle of a game saw the points shared as Ashville surrendered two leads at high flying Abbey Hey.
The game started in relatively even fashion with neither side really taking control of the game. Shaun Parrington found himself in the book after seven minutes for a deliberate handball. It wouldn't be the first time a card was issued in this bank holiday encounter.
The first real chance of the game fell to Villa on 11 minutes when Peter Morgan found himself in behind, before being ruthlessly hacked down from behind as he was in on goal. The entire Villa contingency screamed for a penalty but the referee waved the appeals away.
Five minutes later and Villa took the lead. Max Williams' corner was put right on top of the keeper and stand in captain, Lewis Willingham, rose highest to head home his first Ashville goal and give the visitors the lead.
Courtnell had a great opportunity to double Villa's lead on 25 minutes when a long ball over the top was brought down brilliantly by Morgan, who played in Courtnell with just the keeper to beat. His effort was too central though and Beard saved comfortably.
The tide changed on the half hour mark though when Shaun Parrington was given a second yellow card in somewhat dubious circumstances, for what was deemed a late challenge by the referee.
With Ashville down to ten, the focus turned to defending the lead.
On 42 minutes, Connor Courtnell was the latest Villa player to find his name in the referee's notebook for a late challenge.
The hosts continued to push for an equaliser and on the stroke of half time they got it. A soft free kick was flicked into the back post where it was headed back across goal. Williams took a swipe at the ball and unfortunately sliced it into his own net.
Williams got his chance at redemption five minutes into the second half when Ashville were awarded a penalty. Morgan used his pace to beat Downey, who's optimistic lunge brought down the Villa forward. A second red card in the game was brandished for denial of a clear goal scoring opportunity. Williams stepped up and buried the spot kick expertly into the bottom left hand corner.
Abbey Hey drew level once again on 66 minutes as a long range shot was saved well by Dixon but the parry went back into the danger zone, where Ben McNamara was on hand to tap it into an open net.
Barring a yellow card for White and the hosts peppering the Villa goal with long shots, the game went without major incident until the 80th minute, Louis White lifting a beautiful ball into Joe Dulson leaving him one on one. Morgan, like Courtnell earlier, his his effort too central and Beard, once again, saved fairly comfortably.
That would be the last real chance of the game for Villa, despite both sides pushing hard for a winner. Abbey Hey came close on a couple of occasions, even having an effort cleared off the line.
A game that threatened to boil over on multiple occasions in the first half, ended up being a competitive affair and both sides can come away happy with a point.
Ashville are next in action on Saturday when they travel to Abbey Hulton United for a 3pm kick off. Villa are next at home on Tuesday 5th September for the rearranged fixture against Sandbach United. Tickets for that game can be bought online at ashvillefc.com/tickets
Match photos courtesy of Dan Brown (@danbrown130989 on 'X')