A valiant second half performance wasn't enough for Ashville.
Ashville fell two goals to nil at the hands of Stockport Town on Saturday in league action.
Two first half goals from Harley Monaghan and Jack Kenny were enough for the home side to take the three points on a chilly night in South Manchester.
Stockport started the game brightly, a corner just over a minute into the game creating an opportunity for McLaughlin but the Stockport forwards header was straight at Lee Carr.
Villa struck back with an opportunity of their own after four minutes when a deep free kick from Josh Maldon found Shaun Farrall at the back post. The defender played the ball back out the edge of the area where it was met by Tom Hartley. Hartley struck a sweet half volley straight down the throat of Stockport Town goalkeeper, Joshua Schofield, who was making his 100th appearance for the Lions.
Villa then had two chances in two minutes with Peter Morgan at the heart of both of them. The first one saw the winger played behind by Jake Hulley before slamming an effort into the side netting. A little over a minute later and Morgan was in behind again after turning Stockport right back, Kai Johnston, inside out before a low cross across the face of goal. Toby Jones met the cross at the back post but couldn't steer his effort goalwards.
Despite a promising first ten minutes from Ashville, it was Stockport Town who took control of the game. A succession of corners didn't bring the goal the home side were seeking but they would have their goal just before the half hour mark. A cross in by Calligan initially being met by McLaughlin who headed down for Monaghan who slammed the ball home from close range.
And so Ashville were forced to come back from a losing position once again. The lead was nearly doubled less than five minutes later when a deflected long range strike from Vincent left Carr helpless but the ball dribbled just wide of the upright.
Town would eventually double their lead on 41 minutes. This time a corner did reap its rewards for the home side, Jack Kenny heading home to ensure Villa would go into the half time break two goals down for the third consecutive game.
Just like the previous two games for Ashville, the away side came out refreshed and reenergised in the second half. Villa shifted through the gears quickly and should of had a penalty three minutes after the restart. A corner was punched out by Schofield but sat up perfectly for Haley to fire a half volley back towards goal. There was an audible slap as it hit an outstretched Stockport hand in the area but the referee waved away the appeals.
That decision could of taken the wind out of Villa's sails but the renewed vigour and determination saw Ashville pin The Lions into their own box for an extended period of play. The frustration for Ashville will be the lack of attempts on goal to go with the relentless pressure.
Two long range efforts from Greenop and Courtnell both worked Schofield but the centurion was equal to both opportunities.
The game was far from boring but neither side could muster a clear cut opportunity until 9 minutes from time. Calligan fizzing a low cross into the back post where he found McLaughlin who only had to tap the ball into an empty net. Then, out of nowhere, Carr comes flying across goal to make an unbelievable recovery save, pushing the ball off the line. The follow up by McLaughlin only found the side netting.
6 minutes later and Card was once again showing why Ashville gaffer Gary Jones was so desperate to land the talented keeper. McGowan trying a spectacular effort from 30 yards which was met by an equally spectacular stop from the Ashville keeper.
Ashville would have one more opportunity before the final whistle. Jake Hulley being played in behind and taking his opportunity first time. It was straight at Schofield and that would be all she wrote.
That now leaves Ashville without a win in three games as they look to catch up on a backlog of league fixtures. The Villa return to league action on Boxing Day when they host local rivals, Cammell Laird 1907, in a Christmas derby. Advance tickets can be bought online via the Ashville website with pay on the day also available.