The first league game of the season at Brocstedes Park sees Ashton Athletic host Maine Road for The Sky Blue's first league game of the season.
Both teams were victorious in the FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round, though it took a replay for Maine Road to book their place in the Preliminary Road. The Yellows travelled to The Mechanics Ground to face AFC Blackpool in front of a crowd of 303. The attendance boosted by The Tangerine Knights protesting against the ownership of Blackpool FC and a few rolls of toilet paper which held the game up in both halves. Ashton started well but couldn't find a way through the Tangerine defence and it took a magnificent strike by Joel Brownhill in the 62nd minute to win the game. The Yellows had to withstand a final 15 minutes of AFC Blackpool attacks to book their place in the next round and a trip to Worksop Town.
Maine Road welcomed Nostell Miners Welfare to Brantingham Road who took the lead with a Joel Dixon penalty in the 18th minute. A goal from Eder Ruiz-Villasante on 38 minutes leveled the tie in the first half. Joshua Tinker put Maine Road ahead 8 minutes after the break but Nostell equalized in the 65th minute with a goal from Lucas Middleton. Ex-Yellow Louis Edward thought he had won the game with a goal in the 83rd minute only for their hard work to be undone when Frank Zalo sent the game to a replay with a last minute goal.
The replay was another game full of goals with all 5 scored in the second half. Eder Ruiz-Villasante once again getting Road's first goal when he put them 1-0 up on 60 minutes. Nostell leveled the game 2 minutes later with a goal from Daniel Harris but the game wasn't level long when Joe O'Brien put The Sky Blues 2-1 up in the 65th minute. Joel Senior scored the decisive goal in the 83rd minute when he extended the lead to 3-1 as Steve Smith gave Nostell hope of another comeback when he made it 3-2 in the 90th minute. Maine Road held on to win and now welcome AFC Emley to Brantingham Road on 20th August.
Ashton Athletic started the league campaign away at Barnton on Monday 8th August. The Yellows started slowly but worked their way into the game to end the first half putting the Barnton defence under pressure but without having that cutting edge to find a way through. Both teams tried to pass the ball along the ground to build up momentum only for a wayward pass to end the possession. Both defences were looking solid until a drop in concentration from The Yellows led to a poor pass back to the keeper and Joshua Crofts capitalised on the mistake to give The Villagers their first victory in the Hallmark Security League Premier Division with a 1-0 win.
The Yellows will be looking to avoid a repeat of last season's result when 2 goals from Mathew Morgan (26 & 37) gave Road a 2-0 victory on 31st October 2015. Ashton will be welcoming 2 ex Yellows back to Brocstedes Park in Louis Edwards and Paul Casey, both players moved to Brantingham Road last season.
Ashton Athletic Player/Joint Manager, Ben Kay:
"Welcome to Brocstedes and our visitors Maine Road.
Road had a superb win in the week as they progressed through to the next round of the FA Cup. They are renowned for being a young, very energetic side who love to play football the right way and if we intended to take anything from the game then we need to be at our very best.
We welcome back two familiar faces amongst the Maine Road squad in Louis Edwards and Paul Casey, both of whom where great players for the Yellows.
We will be looking to get our league campaign up and running after the disappointment of Monday nights loss at the hands of new boys Barnton.
We felt we never really got going and was a little disappointed as we know we are a much better side than the account we gave.
The game looked to have 0-0 all over it but a defensive mistake gifted the home side the win.
We would like to welcome both Harry Johnson and Sam Oyeini who have both stepped up from our successful u18s setup and both make today's squad.
Enjoy the game."
Hot and cold refreshments available.
Ashton Athletic Last 2 Games
06/08/16 - AFC Blackpool (A) W 1-0 FA Cup Extra Prelim
08/08/16 - Barnton (A) L 1-0
Maine Road Last 2 Games
06/08/16 - Nostell Miners Welfare (H) D 3-3 FA Cup Extra Prelim
08/08/16 - Nostell Miners Welfare (A) W 3-2 FA Cup Extra Prelim Replay
Previous 6 Meetings
Updated 18:31 - 12 Aug 2016 by Peter Barton
31/10/15 - NWCFL Premier Division - Ashton Athletic 0 Maine Road 2
21/09/15 - NWCFL Premier Division - Maine Road 0 Ashton Athletic 1
20/10/14 - NWCFL Premier Division - Maine Road 0 Ashton Athletic 1
06/09/14 - NWCFL Premier Division - Ashton Athletic 3 Maine Road 1
08/02/14 - NWCFL Premier Division - Maine Road 2 Ashton Athletic 0
05/10/13 - NWCFL Premier Division - Ashton Athletic 1 Maine Road 2