Ashton United’s women’s team suffered their second defeat of the season, as Heyside Ladies snatched a late winner in an 11-goal thriller on Sunday afternoon.
The game was played at Hathershaw College’s artificial surface in Oldham, after a late switch of venue from Ashton’s usual home ground of Hurst Cross because of the adverse weather.
The Robins made a bright start to a match played in torrential rain at times and were 2-0 up inside 20 minutes thanks to two fabulous free-kicks.
The first from Kendall Charlton after six minutes bounced low past the Heyside keeper from 20 yards before Kay Higgins, who was later voted Ashton’s Player of the Match, rifled home from a similar distance via the underside of the crossbar.
But Heyside came back into the contest and netted twice in the final eight minutes of the first half to level matters.
Ashton keeper Alisha Routledge was beaten from the penalty spot before a shot from the right squirmed under the keeper’s grasp to make it 2-2 at half-time.
After a scrappy start to the second half, Ashton restored their lead on 54 minutes. A thunderous drive from Charlton came back off the crossbar and Higgins was on hand to divert the loose ball home.
But in a topsy-turvy match played in tough conditions, Heyside turned it around with two well-taken goals in the space of three minutes, making it 4-3.
The Robins, who created plenty of chances throughout on a narrow pitch, responded again as Chrissy Moss clipped the ball superbly over the onrushing Heyside keeper to equalise on 72 minutes.
A low shot, from the edge of the box, crept into the bottom corner to give Heyside the lead again four minutes later.
Another well-taken goal by Moss on 82 minutes looked to have given Ashton a point, as she used her strength to hold off a defender before slotting home.
But in the 88th minute, Heyside netted the decisive goal when racing clear of the Ashton defence to earn a dramatic 6-5 win.
The result takes the Royton-based side to the top of Greater Manchester Women’s Football League Division One and maintains their unbeaten start to the season, while Ashton are fourth with four points from as many league games.
After the game, Ashton United women’s team assistant manager Alex West said he felt the Robins were unfortunate in challenging conditions but have lessons to take from the match.
“Crazy was probably the best way to describe the game,” he told Ashton’s media team.
“Obviously we’re really disappointed not to get the result. I think we should have got something out of the game, definitely at least a point. It is what it is. It was one of those days - I don’t think the weather has helped, or the cold or the changing rooms. I’m going to be like (Liverpool manager) Jurgen Klopp and blame everything! The wind wasn’t blowing in the right direction and was too strong! I didn’t drink the right coffee when I woke up! (Laughs).
“But it’s one of those things. We let in some sloppy goals that we shouldn’t have done. We took the lead and let it slowly slip away. As we’ve done that, the opposition team has got more confidence and they just wanted it a tiny bit more than we did.”