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Week Of Woe For Ashville

Two defeats in a week saw Ashville exit the Macron Cup at Droylsden and lose against relegation rivals, New Mills.

A cagey battle saw Villa ultimately fall short in their quest for cup glory at Droylsden with just the single goal settling the tie.

Droylsden controlled the majority of the game as Ashville struggled to get going in Tameside. The home side took the lead five minutes before half time thanks to an excellent finish from Ben Lowe who looped a first time effort over Ebbrell from the edge of the box.

There wasn't a lot of goal mouth action in this tie, as evidences by the fact that Ashville's first shot on goal didn't arrive until the 52nd minute, a snapshot from 25 yards by Lewis Moynes which was only inches wide. This came just three minutes after Fuad Kasali was brilliantly denied by Will Ebbrell after the Droylsden forward had got in behind.

Debutant Beni Vulu, who came on as a second half substitute, was the next Villa player to come close to levelling the scores when he hit a tame effort at Jordan Hadlow from range.

Droylsden would nearly wrap it up with two minutes to go as Kilheeney, a goal scorer in the league fixture between these two sides back in December, struck the inside of the post with a wonderful free kick from around 30 yards out.

Ashville would step it up a gear in added time with two chances in less than a minute that required emergency action from the hosts defence. Firstly Shaun Parrington found himself with space at the back post after being picked out by Joe Dulson. 'Pagga' as he's affectionately known, got the ball caught under his feet but still managed to fire a shot off which took just enough of a deflection to send the ball millimetres wide of the upright. From the resulting corner a half clearance was met by Connor Courtnell who tried a spectacular scissor kick which was matched by an equally spectacular save from Hadlow who tipped the ball over.

And other than one of the floodlights failing with a couple of minutes to go, that was all she wrote as Ashville exited the Macron Cup at the quarter final stage.

So back to league action it was for Ashville who travelled to bottom side, New Mills, four days later. Despite a chunk of games in hand on the teams around them, Ashville find themselves languishing above the trap door.

The day didn't start well for Ashville who found themselves behind after just seven minutes after Harry Dean lost his marker for a tap in from 6 yards out for the hosts. Despite an equal amount of possession, Villa looked the better side for large parts yet it took the away side 20 minutes to muster an opportunity on goal. Joe Dulson nodding the ball through for Peter Morgan who saw his effort saved by the legs of Joseph Oldham.

Morgan would make it two efforts in two minutes as Villa pushed for an equaliser, this time Parrington played the young winger through but once again Oldham was equal to the effort. The resulting corner would offer up Ashville's best opportunity of the half as a returning Ben Greenop rose highest at the back post but couldn't keep his header down.

That would be that for the first half but Villa wasted no time in trying to set the tempo in the second. Connor Courtnell was found at the back post from a deep free kick but saw his effort saved by the unflappable Oldham once more.

The next clear cut opportunity for either side came in the 71st minute when Peter Morgan and Lewis Moynes linked up on the right hand side before feeding substitute, Josh Maldon, who tried a curling effort but pulled it wide.

Two minutes later though and Ashville were fighting for their lives down at the other end, Luke Merrill wading his way through Villa's left hand side before delivering a wicked ball across goal which came off Maldon and was goalbound before it was cleared off the line.

Just under ten minutes to go and Oldham was forced into another brilliant save when he tipped over Parrington's effort from an Ashville corner.

The game was wrapped up with five minutes to go when a fluffed corner was somehow rescued by New Mills before the ball finally found its way to the back post where Chris Rogers was waiting to smash the ball home.

Villa would have one last good chance as a free kick found Maldon at the back post who did extremely well to reach the ball but saw his header come off the joint of crossbar and post and out for a goal kick.

And that's how it finished, two losses in a week for Ashville who now need to take advantage of a raft of games in hand, pick up points and start moving back towards mid table. With 11 games to go Ashville are in a better position than it may seem right now but what is for certain is that the next four weeks are going to be one hell of a ride.

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