Double disappointment for Frickley in openers

Joel Purkiss on the attack for Frickley Athletic against Ashton United.
Joel Purkiss on the attack for Frickley Athletic against Ashton United.

Frickley Athletic got off to a disappointing start to the new season as they lost their opening two games in the Evo-Stik Premier League.

After the way they ended the last campaign there were high hopes before the big kick-off, but the Blues failed to make the most of a flying start and went down 3-1 at home to Ashton United last Saturday and 2-0 at Workington on Tuesday night.

Despite it being the first league game they were short on numbers against Ashton with Josh Diggles on holiday, Nathan Valentine suspended on a carry over from last season, John Lufudu still awaiting his international clearance and Jameel Ible making himself unavailable.

But Frickley made light of this initially as they went in front after only five minutes when Joel Purkiss and Nathan Curtis set up Tyler Williams who smashed the ball home.

Purkiss sent a header just wide and the Blues dominated the early stages before Ashton, who are usually up near the leaders in the division, came into the game, forcing home keeper Sebastian Malkowski to make two fine saves.

Malkowski could do nothing to prevent the visitors from equalising on the half-hour as Lee Gaskell came up with a stunning free-kick from the edge of the box.

Five minutes later it was 2-1 as Daniel Wilkins struck with another good shot.

This rattled the defence and only more good work by Malkowski and Josh Grant prevented a third goal being added before half-time.

Five minutes into the second half the game was effectively sealed when Gaskell strolled through to score his second.

Frickley tried to battle back as Purkiss saw a header saved and Curtis’s low shot was also kept out, but they walked off disappointed and still looking for their new combinations to click after manager Karl Rose has been forced to rebuild his team again following several departures from last term.

Frickley were in action again in their second league game on Tuesday night when they made the long trip to Workington and came home empty handed.

The Blues were in the game until the closing stages and looked set for a battling point after defending well.

The first half ended goalless with Purkiss going closest to a goal for Frickley with a shot that flashed just wide.

But the deadlock was broken 19 minutes from time when Josh Calvert netted for the hosts after being set up by Conor Tinnion.

Frickley had the ball in the net only to be denied an equaliser when the referee spotted a push in the area and it was all over for them in added time when Scott Allison provided the assist for Rob Wilson to make it 2-0.