Ashville gave up a two goal lead at home to title chasing Abbey Hey on Saturday.
The Villa are in the midst of a tough run of form which has now seen the tricky whites go six without a win after Saturday's dramatic draw against Abbey Hey.
'The Rebels' came to Wallasey on the back of a long winning streak, flying up the table and overtaking likely challengers Stockport Town into second place. Recent encounters between Abbey Hey and Ashville have seen Villa win two of the last three. 4-0 and 4-2 wins for Villa last season were followed up with a 2-2 draw at The Abbey Stadium back in August in the first meeting between the two sides this campaign.
The Rebels were keen to get their first victory against Ashville and started the game brightly, getting into promising positions with Villa's defence holding firm and Lee Carr remaining untested.
Ashville were keen for a win themselves having gone the previous five games without a victory. The Wallasey club had a very good start to the season and before a raft of postponements turned the season into chaos, Ashville sat just outside the playoff places. Since November, however, Ashville have tumbled down the table (albeit with a good chunk of games in hand) and exited two cup competitions. Today was a day to put that right.
And it would be Ashville who got off the mark first. Ben Greenop playing a well weighted pass through for Lewis Moynes who only had Connor Beard to beat, which he did with a beautifully composed finish into the bottom corner from an acute angle in the 12th minute. It was a brilliant finish from a resurgent Lewis Moynes, the winger having missed a large portion of last season through injury. Since coming back into the side he has been a constant threat, even during Ashville's rough spell.
Moynes was played in a more central number ten role on Saturday and it seemed to work a treat. The pacey, agile winger proving too much to handle for the Abbey Hey defence all afternoon. It was in fact, a corner turned for an Ashville attack that has been absent for large portions of the recent winless run. All four players in the attack received heavy praise from Gary Jones in his post match interview, is this perhaps the forward line to go with from now on? Only time will tell...
Back to the action and the visitors hunted for an equaliser. A flurry of corners were easily repelled by an Ashville defence which saw the return of Toby Jones. The centre-back has been used as an auxiliary centre-forward in recent months by Gary Jones to some degree of success. The Toby of the two Joneses (no relation) had an excellent game all things considered and looked a worthy partner for skipper Shaun Farrall at the back.
Speaking of the skipper, Farrall nearly registered his third goal of the season when he met a corner at the near post on 22 minutes but unfortunately for Norway's favourite non-league centre-half he failed to find the target this time. It was fine margins but not quite close enough.
Next up to narrowly miss the target was Tom Davies. The winger was back in the starting lineup and almost back amongst the goals when he met a tempting cross from Peter Morgan whilst under pressure. Unfortunately he couldn't direct his effort inside the posts and was left to watch as his effort skimmed the outside of the upright.
As half time loomed there was a sense of Deja Vu for everyone in attendance as Lewis Moynes found himself one on one with Connor Beard once more. This time from the opposite side but Beard had learned his lessons and was able to thwart the dynamic Moynes to keep Abbey Hey within touching distance going into the second half.
The opening 15 minutes of the second half was all Ashville. Relentless pressure on the Abbey Hey goal would be rewarded with a goal just after the hour mark. No prizes for guessing who was at the heart of it all yet again...
Moynes finding his way in behind once more and with a defender for company approached Beard for yet another one on one opportunity. It was akin to the previous attempt, the Abbey Hey defender forcing Moynes in closer than he would of liked, giving Beard the advantage as he extended his limbs to stop Moynes once more. This time, however, Tom Davies was on hand to put the rebound into the corner and give Ashville a two goal lead.
With Ashville in the ascendency and full of momentum, stage one of the Abbey Hey rescue mission was to break the game up as often as possible and take the sting out of Ashville. The home side had dominated the game up to this point and it felt like watching the cup heroes of earlier in the season once more. The home side were worthy of their lead and only complacency could stop them now.
A momentary slip of concentration and with fatigue starting to set in, welcomed Abbey Hey's first goal. Ivanilson Da Silva scoring a fizzing low drive into the far corner to give the visitors some hope of redemption.
At this point Ashville had taken their foot off the gas and considered it job done. Fatigue was starting to set in and as Ashville waned, Abbey Hey caught a second wind. This led to the home side sitting back and allowing far more pressure than they should of. They did still get up the field to try and run the clock out in the most classical of ways, keeping it in the corner, to very little success.
Game management has been a bit of an issue for Villa this season, late goals and late drama being in high supply whenever Ashville are around. This would prove the be the case again against The Rebels.
The equaliser would eventually come in the first of six minutes additional time. Everyone watching could see it coming after a ten minute spell of constant pressure from the visitors, barely allowing Ashville chance to catch their breath. A well worked move down the visitors right side culminated in a superb low cross from Jake Dunford into Harry Simpson who tapped home from close range to share the spoils.
It was late heartbreak again for Ashville but a far more promising performance which the home side will feel should of resulted in another three points on the board.
Ashville have a tricky week ahead of them, they travel to Glossop North End in the Macron Cup on Tuesday night before travelling to table topping Brocton on Saturday, as they look to end this winless run which has now extended to six games.
Ashville are back at home on Saturday 3rd February when they seek revenge against South Liverpool, this time in the Edward Case Cup before following that up 3 days later by hosting local rivals Cammell Laird 1907 at Ray Parker Stadium in the rearranged Boxing Day fixture.