A game of two halves ended all square in Tameside.
Ashville fought back from two goals down to seal a point away from home in their return to league action against Droylsden.
Ashville won the reverse fixture 6-1 back in August with Ben Greenop scoring a hat trick and the Merseyside club were keen to have a repeat of that performance. Villa came flying out of the gates and nearly took the lead in the first minute. Maldon seeing his 20 yard effort going wide.
Despite the fast start it was Droylsden who settled into the game better and had Villa penned in their own half. Ben Lowe with the first dangerous effort, a low shot from the edge of the area being tipped around the post by debutant Lee Carr.
Ashville just couldn't get on the ball in the opening ten minutes, as soon as it was cleared it came right back. Toby Jones nearly gifted Droylsden the lead after miscontrolling the ball which gave Nellson Van an opportunity to run at the Villa back line. The Droylsden forward slalomed through the defence but Carr was quick off his line to prevent the striker from scoring. Van appealed for a penalty as he claimed he was pulled down by Reynolds but the referee waved away the appeals.
Despite a very brief spell up the right end of the pitch for Ashville, Droylsden took the lead on 21 minutes. Caelan Kilheeney rifling a 25 yard effort into the bottom corner.
It was just reward for a Droylsden side who were quite frankly dominating the game at this stage. The home side continued to pepper the Ashville goal but couldn't find the second goal.
The away sides woes were compounded further on 35 minutes when Shaun Parrington was forced off due to illness, Shaun Farrall replacing the striker and Toby Jones being moved up top.
Just a minute later however and Ashville created just their second opportunity of the half. Maldon dinking a ball in behind for Davies before the tricky winger swung a cross to the edge of the area where it was met by Haynes who headed well wide.
With just over five minutes of the half remaining Droylsden were pushing hard for that second goal. A short corner eventually played into Van by Lowe but the strikers header was tame and straight at Carr for an easy save.
On the stroke of half time Droylsden finally got the second goal they were so desperately craving. A free kick being swung in and flicked on before finding the head of Elvis Amaokwa. The defenders looping header seemed to be going over but it dipped just in time to find the back of the net and double the home sides lead.
For the second game running then Ashville found themselves two goals down at the break. An injury to Michael Reynolds forced Gary Jones into a half time change with Tom Hartley taking to the pitch. These changes and a half time dressing down from the gaffer seemed to spark life into Ashville who came out swinging.
Ben Greenop had the ball in the back of the net just 65 seconds after the restart but the flag had gone up for offside so the goal was chalked off.
Villa had Droylsden penned into their own half but was just lacking that killer final ball.
It would be the home side who had the first real effort of the half though, a long range strike stinging the palms of Carr before the rebound was deflected out for a corner.
The home side had a flurry of corners but Villa defended them well to keep themselves in the game.
A double change for The Bloods on 71 minutes gave Villa a great opportunity to take advantage of tiring legs and a change of shape and take advantage they did. Two minutes after the home sides changes it was a Villa substitute who made an impact. Peter Morgan put home keeper, Morgan Piper, under pressure in his own box forcing the keeper into a tame clearance to Ben Greenop who slotted home to give the visitors a lifeline.
Momentum had fully swung Ashville's way but the home side threatened to wrap the game up on 77 minutes when they got in behind one on one only to be denied by a brilliant save by Carr. The debutant and new signing stopping well with his feet to keep Villa in the game.
With Villa seeking an equaliser and Droylsden looking to kill the game off it became an end to end affair with neither side able to convert their chances. That all changed 8 minutes from time however. Another substitute, debutant and new signing Joe Haley, whipping a cross in which was met with a brilliant diving header from Peter Morgan who found the bottom corner to complete the comeback.
Ashville's tails were well and truly up after the equaliser, Droylsden were at sixes and sevens. Villa pushed hard to find a winner. It was the home side, however, who almost nicked a victory. A long range effort in the final seconds going inches wide of Carr's right hand post.
The game finished all square, a fair result in a game of two completely different halves. Droylsden will feel disappointed with a point after a stellar first half display. Ashville will be happy to take a point in their first league fixture in 66 days but will be left wondering what could of been had they moved through the gears better in the first half.
Ashville will now travel to Stockport Town on Saturday in another NWCFL Divison One South fixture before hosting the first local derby of the season against Cammell Laird 1907 on Boxing Day. Tickets for the Wirral Derby are now available via the Ashville club website