Ashton Town 0-1 AFC Liverpool

AFC Liverpool’s First Team travelled to Edge Green Street, home of Ashton Town for their second pre-season friendly. As early as the fourth minute, there was an early chance for AFC as Joseph Whittington, wearing the number 9 shirt, received the ball with his back to goal from winger Sam Wilkie, but he couldn’t quite turn and convert the shot.

In the opening exchanges, The Reds, wearing their purple alternate strip, took control culminating in a shot from Stephen Milne at the edge of the area which flew just over the bar. However, on ten minutes Ashton broke forward with their number 6 unleashing a shot from distance which Reds keeper Dominic Garner had covered as he watched it sail over the bar.

Ashton’s number 6 was then warned for multiple fouls, ending with an enforced substitution of the player before the twenty minute mark. The visitors had maintained their control of the game moving the ball around well in defence and midfield, whilst testing the Town defence with some intricate passing, however another good breakaway chance from Ashton was wasted with a wayward shot.

Whittington was found to be just offside following an excellent through ball from AFC’s number 8 in the twenty-first minute. Then the work rate from Danny Boden on the wing paid dividends with a clever one-two leaving the Ashton defence standing, only for the Reds newest signing to controversially fall foul of the linesman’s flag himself.

In the twenty-fifth minute Dom Garner was nearly caught out with a searching ball that bounced up and over him and nearly dropped into the net, but fortunately it hit the roof of the goal and went behind. Just one minute later however, Chris Stammers’ side were on the attack again, as another great through ball found Whittington, whose strike was parried by the Ashton keeper, yet Boden was first to react to fire the ball into the net and give the visitors the lead.

AFC Liverpool then kept possession for the remainder of the half with some more composed passing, which belied the fact that this squad had barely played together before. As half-time came, the positivity from the travelling support was palpable.

In the second half, an AFC substitute wearing number 12 got on the end of a pacy cross, but couldn’t quite a keep his volleyed shot down, and the Ashton keeper managed to save. A header from the ubiquitous number 8 went over the bar in the sixtieth minute, followed by a long distance strike by the same player. Sam Wilkie unleashed a long distance strike across goal on sixty-five minutes which went just wide with the keeper beaten.

A late attack from Ashton was their best chance for an equaliser as a good cross into the box presented a chance to convert a header, but AFC Liverpool’s second half keeper capped a good performance to intercept the ball and ensure the visitors kept a clean sheet. As the final whistle came the team had maintained their single goal lead, and recorded their first victory under Chris Stammers.

Overall, it was a very capable performance by the Reds, with excellent passing and movement on display from a side that are still getting to know each other, and certainly whetted the appetite for more as the team travel to Abbey Hulton United on Saturday afternoon.

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