AFC Liverpool 1-3 Ashton Town | Match Report

A slow start and a frantic, but wasteful finish ultimately did for The Reds in what was on balance a really poor home performance against an Ashton side full of familiar faces, but still very much finding their feet this season.

The visitors started brightly and were undoubtedly the better side in the opening exchanges as Jason Carey dropped in to a deeper role to pull the strings for the rapid Daley Woods and James Sigsworth. Woods should have put Ashton ahead after just 10 minutes but an excellent stop from Jack Ferguson tipped his header round the post.

Sigsworth and Woods would be involved in Ashton’s opener too after defender Chris Brady barged Sigsworth down inside the area and the referee pointed to the spot. Woods stepped up and drove his penalty straight down the middle to put the visitors ahead in the 29th minute.

Despite never quite pushing on and grabbing the second goal, Ashton remained in control for much of the first half as AFC players all over the pitch struggled to find their man, took too many touches and made it far too easy for the visitors to win the ball back and break, which they did time and again and only some solid last ditch defending kept The Reds in the game.

Fortunately for AFC there was only one goal in it at the break and with the referee’s whistle came the chance to regroup whilst still being within touching distance.

After the restart, right from kick off, The Reds looked much better and were unlucky not to be level after a brilliant passing move. The final ball was a neat cut back from Callum Schorah but striker Jordan Foster was just unable to set himself and he sliced his shot wide.

Before the game really had much of a chance to get going again, the match had a bizarre stoppage in play caused by the referee’s assistant going down injured on the touchline.

What was around 8-10 minutes passed by and the game finally resumed after both sets of players looked to keep warm and switched on in the interim. It was clear though that the Ashton players benefited most from the break in play as they scored about a minute after the restart. Sigsworth went on a brilliant run down the left wing (one of many) and as he broke into the box curled his effort into the top right corner beyond Jack Ferguson to double the visitors lead.

The Reds continued to labour in possession and Ashton continued to threaten whenever AFC lost the ball, which they did with some frequency. Sigsworth put the game to bed in the 74th minute after another great run, similar to the one in the build up to his first goal, and again once he worked himself inside the box the finish was really good.

Frustratingly, AFC then enjoyed by far their best spell in the game once they conceded the third goal but by then of course it was too late and the goal proved to be just a consolation in the end. Callum Schorah, tireless throughout again, put Mikey White under pressure after the defender received the ball. Schorah picked White’s pocket, surged through on goal and then laid the ball off for substitute Anthony Lyons to slot into an empty net after keeper Thomas Goodwin committed himself.

The Reds then peppered the Ashton goal with chance after chance. Schorah again and Lyons had big chances that on another night may have found their way in and Drew Lewis forced a top save from Goodwin after the forward curled a near perfect shot towards the top left corner. AFC huffed and puffed but the visitors dug deep and saw the game out well, even into over 13 minutes of injury time.

As with Friday’s game at home to Steeton then, just not good enough on the night and the trend towards starting slow and growing into games only once the result is out of reach is unsustainable if this side is to reach it’s full potential this season.

That’s the challenge though and it surely is that as Longridge Town and Carlisle march on and start to put daylight between themselves and the rest.

To Saturday. To Chadderton. An opportunity to learn from the mistakes of the last few games now, to address the dip in form in the last six and attempt to close that gap once more.

Lineup vs Ashton Town

Attendance: 139

Alan Williams Man of the Match: Callum Schorah

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