Villa fight back to earn a draw at home to Unity

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Awsworth Villa entertained Unity at the Shilo and earned a 2-2 draw as they continue their NSL title challenge.

Seven first team players were missing through injury, including captain Liam Hutchinson and influential winger Anthony Withe.

Both sides were cagey in the opening minutes. With Ryan Whitehurst always the danger man, Villa were sending long balls towards him at every opportunity.

The best chance fell to Whitehurst after 20 minutes when he did beat the offside trap but his first time shot flew just over the bar.

The Villa defence were doing a sterling job in keeping Unity at bay. Robbie Tonra was sat in front of the back four helping to sense danger and limit Unity to half chances. It was, however, a reckless challenge from Tonra that brought about the first goal.

A Unity free-kick on 35 minutes found its way out wide and when the cross was delivered it wasn’t dealt with and Tyrell Shannon-Lewis tapped in past Matt Walsh to give Unity a half-time lead.

Within one minute of the restart Villa had worked the ball into the box and a low cross from Kurt Savage was met with clinical efficiency by Whitehurst to fire home the equaliser.

But Villa were denied any opportunity to chase the victory immediately from kick off. Once again, a cross from the wing evaded all defenders and Shannon-Lewis was on hand to provide the finish. Walsh got a strong hand to it and was convinced the ball did not cross the line but the assistant referee deemed otherwise and Awsworth were back behind.

Walsh produced several saves to keep Villa in the game and with 80 minutes on the clock Villa got the goal they deserved as the ball fell to Matt Goodwin 18 yards out and he dispatched an unstoppable shot that bounced in off the bar.

Goodwin had another chance to win it near the end but couldn’t connect as he did with the equaliser and the game petered out to finish 2-2.

After the game manager Ryan Doherty was delighted with the point. He said: “We really had to dig deep. We dealt with the injuries exceptionally well and huge credit goes to the lads who came in.

“Today proved once more that we are never out of the game and that is a testament to the spirit within the club at the minute.

“We now concentrate on getting the lads rested and back to fitness so we’re prepared for what will be a fascinating run-in’.