Ashville were denied a point in the dying stages away at Alsager.
An entertaining contest away at Alsager was marred by late controversy as Ashville suffered defeat less than 48 hours after their heroic Macron Cup victory at Glossop North End.
The game started brilliantly for Villa who took the lead after just 5 minutes. Jack Parry received the ball just inside the Alsager half before the Crewe Alexandra loanee played a perfectly weighted through ball to Tom Davies. The electric winger got one on one with Jacob Kirwan and slammed the ball across the Alsager keeper and into the bottom corner to give Ashville another early away lead.
The game quickly turned into a midfield battle with neither side creating any chances of note until Dylan O'Brien was called into action twice in three minutes, the Ashville 'keeper produced two brilliant saves to preserve the away sides lead in a continuation of his very solid performance at Glossop North End on Thursday night.
Villa would hold firm until the half hour mark when Jordan Cobley turned the ball home from a corner to draw the sides level.
It would take only 5 minutes for Alsager to turn the game on its head, poor Ashville defending in the second phase from a corner eventually being volleyed in by Ryan Jackson.
It was a hammer blow to an Ashville side who had put in a workmanlike performance up to that point but two lapses of concentration punished the away side.
It wouldn't take long for Ashville to hit back with Alsager's lead only lasting four minutes. Lewis Moynes worked well on the left hand side before slotting Jack Parry in behind. The loaner striker swiftly made it two goals in his first two games for Ashville as he slipped his shot under Kirwan to send the sides into the break level.
There was still enough time for Ashville to almost concede a third, an excellently curled free kick only going over by a matter of millimetres.
Villa would come out the brighter of the two sides in the second half. A solid team performance filled with renewed vigour and determination. They couldn't convert this fresh lease of life into a clear cut opportunity and almost paid for it ten minutes into the second half. Ryan Jackson got in behind the Villa back line and was clean through on goal but his shot was blocked by an impressive recovery challenge by Toby Jones.
The second half would prove to be more end to end than the first, Lewis Moynes nearly getting on the scoresheet when he forced Kirwan into an awkward save on 66 minutes.
That would be the last real chance of note in the second half before Alsager cruelly won the game in injury time amid controversial circumstances. Adam Sunners was tussling with an Alsager forward before the ball went out of play due to a ricochet off the Alsager player. What should of been a goal kick was awarded a corner by the referee and amidst the frustrations and appeals, Ashville were caught cold.
Another good save by O'Brien fell at the feet of Elliot Coleman who took advantage of being left unmarked in a missed assignment by the Villa defence, to put the ball in the back of the open net and gift his side the 3 points.
A draw would of been a fair result based on the balance of play as there really wasn't much between the two sides in terms of quality. Ashville will be left to lick their wounds amid another quick turnaround between games as they travel to Barnton on Wednesday night. Villa will be looking to go one better than the penalty shootout victory against Wednesdays opponent by completing the job inside 90 minutes and finding form again as we enter the second half of the season.
Ashville will then face another tough test, and a chance at revenge, when South Liverpool make the trip to Ray Parker Stadium in the Edward Case Cup on Saturday 3rd February