Ammers miss opportunity in Athersley defeat

Ammers let slip an opportunity to extend their gap above the relegation zone, having led Athersley Recreation, the winner decided by a mistake as the hosts were beaten 2-1 at The Southerns Stadium.

The result, instead of increasing Ammers’ point distance above the NCEL Division One drop to five, extended Athersley’s close lead over Ammers to eight on Saturday afternoon.

Ammers’ ‘keeper Jack Viles had the ball bounce over hisboot with Fraser Hartley closing in on goal.

Freddie Swales had given Ammers the lead courtesy of a strong share of possession. Nathan Perks countered that with a back post header across goal to equalise.

Time was against the hosts by the time Hakim Johnson’s red-card gave Ammers a man advantage in second-half added-time.

James Woodhouse’s hooked half-volley, back-to-goal, towards the top, left-hand corner just minutes in was met by Jack Viles springing up from beyond the crowd in the box to push the ball wide of his right-hand post.

The space for Athersley was in-behind, seemingly a usual occurrence given their immediate response to go direct when possession turns over.

Conceding possession led to the opener for Ammers, Freddie Swales hitting it under Ellis Ickard in goal on 18 minutes. Crediting Chigumira’s first-touch which held the attack together, Swales was first to a clearance to the edge of Athersley’s box before shooting low, squeezed under Ickard’s body.

Nathan Perks countered down the left half-space of Ammers’ box minutes later but Viles closed the angle to save the low shot with his legs.

Woodhouse attacked the high space against Ammers and was inside of Maynard who was across to press on 22 minutes. The defender recovered his position goalside to force the forward back wide.

Viles’ positioning was perfect to stifle Woodhouse again who, isolated against Kadeem Morton, had just flicked the ball over the full back to skip the queue to get to the ‘keeper. The strike’s high and stopped dead inside Viles’ grip.

Marcel broke clear at the opposite end and had the ball in the net before the linesman’s flag stopped celebrations.

Ammers’ continued possession led to Ethan Kachosa angling his run in from the left, between defenders onto a short pass into the box, his body infront of his chaser to be able to poke a shot across the grass and Ickard, unable to hit the limited target available to him at a tight angle.

Kaiden Cheetham was introduced at the break to replace the injured but effective Marcel Chigumira. It was precautionary measure after being grounded exerting himself during a run in-behind.

The equaliser was respective of the opening ten minutes to the second-half, not the prettiest, a simple set-piece met by the head of Nathan Perks. Launched from just wide-left, only yards into Ammers’ half, Perks was back of the line inside the box, heading over the group and inside the post.

Perks looked to benefit from Maynard’s slip on the edge of Ammers’ box but the ball sliding off the number nine’s boot gave Maynard time to pick himself up off the floor and poke the ball away from the forward’s feet.

As quick as three passes, Fin Wade’s inside the right half-space of Athersley’s box as Ammers crossed the width of the visitor’s half. The ball’s path sent Wade slightly wider to take his first time shot, Ickard repeating Viles’ earlier save at the same end with his legs.

Viles will likely remember the winner for longer, a stain on another impressive performance in goal, a mis-kick allowing Maynard’s back pass to run into the path of Fraser Harley to finish into an open goal.

Hartley was quickly in again minutes, this time with Parker to contest with physically who sheltered the ball into Viles’ hands.

Wilfred Frimpong replaced Wade wide-right but he began by finding space infield to receive and follow-up by laying off to Morton’s overlapping run. The interchange increased the pace with Ammers in a hurry entering the final twenty minutes.

Perks was beaten to a high ball over Ammers’ back line by Viles heading clear out of his box. Hakim Johnson appeared to debate hitting it first time with Viles midway in his retreat to his goal but instead the forward took the lead on Athersley’s three versus three scenario. Perks’ run high is ignored for a delivery across the box into Harrson Landon. His first touch is infield, second touch to shoot against Parker’s legs in blocking the threat.

Still trailing with ten minutes remaining, Parker’s ability as a target-man was utilised, Jake Boyd introduced into defence, replacing Ralph Bertrand.

Ammers’ pressure put Birama Diallo face to face with goal, slightly wide of the right-hand post, connecting with the upright with his shot. Off the inside, the ball deflected off Kaiden Cheetham, goal bound but after checking with the linesman, the equaliser kept beyond reach.

Johnson’s objections to what appeared to stem from the official’s hesitation to come to the correct decision earnt him a red card in added-time.

The man advantage aided Ammers’ dominance of the ball but couldn’t recover the deficit by full-time.

Ammers remain stuck on two points adrift of the drop zone, now eight below Athersley having missed this afternoon’s opportunity.

A first week-long break in four follows, next Saturday taking The Ammers to Worsbrough Bridge Athletic in the league.