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Penalty Shootout Victory Again For Ashville

Ashville are through to the Edward Case Cup third round after yet another dramatic penalty shootout win.

Ashville were finally back in action on Wednesday night as they travelled to Barnton for the rearranged third round tie in the Edward Case Cup.

It's been a frustrating few weeks for Ashville who have seen multiple matches postponed due to the recent bad weather.

These two sides met earlier in the season in a league fixture at Ray Parker Stadium, that day Barnton ran out two nil winners and Ashville were keen to get some revenge.

The game started off as an even battle with neither side really taking control of the game. Barnton had the first opportunity of the evening on 10 minutes when Sam Smith's shot from a tight angle forced Dixon into an excellent save to keep the scores level.

It was a game of few chances in the first half an hour but that seemed to all change just ten minutes later when Lewis Moynes broke through the Barnton back line and slotted the ball home. Unfortunately for the Ashville forward, the offside flag had been raised and the goal was chalked off.

A very even first half ended goalless but all that would change in dramatic fashion in the second half with a crazy 11 minute period with plenty of twists.

The first real effort of the half came courtesy of Josh Maldon, the Ashville midfielder forced to watch in agony as his volleyed effort sailed just right of the post.

Ashville would have the lead less than five minutes later. An Ashville corner was poorly defended by Barnton and amidst the chaos Ben Greenop was on hand at the back post to smuggle the ball over the line.

Ashville had the lead but it would only last four minutes. Connor Courtnells unfortunate slip allowing Smith in behind. The Barnton striker took it past two more players before hitting a deflected effort into the bottom corner.

With the game just passing the hour mark, with the scores level, it really did feel like anyone's game. Barnton took advantage of their new found momentum and took the lead just two minutes after equalising.

A corner found the head of Avon who saw his header bounce down off the crossbar and narrowly over the line. It was a horrible sucker punch for an Ashville side who are in red hot form at the moment, especially in the cups.

With so many cup games already this season though, Ashville were prepared for the fight ahead.

With 15 minutes to go however, Barnton nearly finished the game off. Quinn giving away a free kick 25 yards out. The free kick was almost too good though and smashed against the crossbar.

Villa had fortune in their side and pegged Barnton back to level scores with just three minutes to go. Another corner, another defensive mess from Barnton and this time Toby Jones was on hand to tap the ball home for Ashville.

And Ashville were millimetres away from winning it in the first of five added minutes. Peter Morgan's cross deflected goalwards by a stray defensive leg, McLoughlin did well to scramble back and scoop the ball off the line.

2-2 after regulation and straight to penalties once again for the away side.

Dixon saved the first effort, once again proving why he was voted Octobers NWCFL goalkeeper of the month.

First up for Ashville was captain on the night,Josh Maldon. The temporary skipper was a little too central with his effort and McLoughlin got down well to save. Things took another twist however as the linesman raised his flag as McLoughlin had come off his line early in making the save. The penalty was retaken and Maldon slotted it home with ease.

Harvey Sample stepped up next for Barnton, the Wirral based player unable to level the scores in the shootout as Dixon got down brilliantly to tip his effort on to the post.

Fortune really seemed to be on Ashville's side but that hope and optimism would take a blow with the next kick. Connor Courtnell was the next taker, the left back smashing his effort off the bar.

Dixon would then make it a hat trick of saves in the shootout to keep Ashville's lead intact. The Villa keeper getting down brilliantly to his left.

Another player of the month would step up next with the NWCFL September player of the month, Ben Greenop. The red hot striker was as cool as an attic breeze with a short run up before sending McLoughlin the wrong way to put Ashville two nil up in the shootout.

"Miss to win?" Dixon enquired with the referees assistant who nodded to confirm to the Ashville keeper what his assignment was. He nearly did it as well, getting down well to his right but the ball squirmed into the bottom corner despite Dixon getting what seemed to be a good hand on it.

And so, the stage was set for a hero. Score and you're through. It sounds so simple but one can only imagine what was going through Peter Morgan's head as he approached the penalty spot. Many young players would crumble under that pressure, not Peter Morgan. The winger stepped up and slotted the ball home as cool as you like, even sending McLoughlin the wrong way for good measure.

Another shootout, another win for Ashville who just refuse to be beaten in the cups this season. Wednesday nights result sees them progress into the third round of the Edward Case Cup, just one of four cup competitions the Wallasey based club are fighting to win this season.

It could be an historic season for Ashville and you can catch them in action this Saturday in the prestigious Isuzu FA Vase at Ray Parker Stadium. They will welcome Holker Old Boys from Cumbria in the second round of the competition with the winners hosting South Liverpool in the next round.

Photographs: Simon Johnston, Official Ashville FC Photographer

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