A lunchtime deluge ensured the playing surface was slick as both teams entered the Pitch playing in their traditional strips. As the expectant crowd settled into their positions both Teams,who were undefeated in the League set about producing a tremendous 90 minutes of offensive Football and showed why they are at the top end of the table with some excellent play. After a first 10 minutes of closing each other down, it was the visitors that began to carve out some openings with Ashfield`s front two looking lively. Keigan Parker was the first to carve out an opening after being played through by Mark McManus and after evading a couple of tackles brought out 2 saves from the Burgh Keeper. Ashfield were getting some joy down the flanks and at the other side Dean Leverage brought out another save from the Burgh Keeper. The home side then showed their attacking prowess after the ball was played into the box and as the ball broke the Burgh Centre delivered a volley off the ground which John Mullen in the Ashfield goal palmed away. After a period of end to end play Ashfield were awarded a free-kick 20 yards out and after the ball was played out to the left hand side some lovely interplay saw the ball break to the Ashfield Captain Ciaran Friel who drove forward and despatched a shot which took a deflection en route to the back of the net to the delight of the travelling support. Johnstone Burgh 0 Ashfield 1. Although the home side had played well the lead was deserved on overall play. Next up Referee Clark had to make a decision on whether the ball had crossed the line after a sweeping move from the Burgh saw the ball played past an onrushing Mullen in the Ashfield goal only to see the ball cleared off the line by John Gaynor with the home side appealing that the ball had crossed the line. Ashfield had a series of corners however were well defended by the Burgh back four and just as Ashfield were all set to go into the interval ahead they were pegged back on the stoke of half time following a cross into the box where the ball was only partially cleared. The ball was then volleyed goalwards only to see the Ashfield Keeper pull off a tremendous save however the rebound was picked up by Ryan Officer and the prolific scorer drove the ball in off the post to the roar of the home support. Goal & HT:- Johnstone Burgh 1 Ashfield 1.
It had been a tremendous first half however the question was whether both teams could keep up the same tempo. The home side were obviously buoyed by the late first half goal however chances were at a premium early on in the half. Ashfield were getting joy on the right hand side where Keigan Parker was managing to get some excellent deliveries into the box. It was from this route that the Glasgow side took the lead after some good play down the right by Parker saw an outswinging cross delivered into the box between the Burgh back two and Ashfield`s top scorer this season, Graeme Hearton bulleted a header into the roof of the net to put the `field 2-1 up. Johnstone Burgh 1 Ashfield 2. The home side were shocked by the goal and a couple of minutes later Hearton found himself through on goal with only the Keeper to beat and as the Burgh Keeper advanced the Ashfield striker drove the ball inches past the post. As the home side pushed forward the `field hit them on the break again and this time it was Parker who was through and again as the Burgh Keeper advanced the ball was played over him and for Ashfield the ball went agonisingly past the post. The home side then picked up the pace again in the last 15 minutes and were unfortunate following a series of corners when the Burgh Captain outjumped his markers only to see his effort crash off the underside of the bar. A real let off for the `field however this was only shortlived as a lovely move saw the Ashfield Keeper palm out a netbound effort from Kieron McGuinness and the lively Sam Esplin smashed in the rebound. Johnstone Burgh 2 Ashfield 2. It was game on again and the game swung from end to end with Referee Clark having to earn his Match Fee. As the game entered injury time it looked like Ashfield had won it following a lovely move. The ball broke out to Michael Giblin on the edge of the box and his netbound effort was deflected past the Burgh Keeper to the delight of the Players, Management and travelling supporters however the celebrations were shortlived as Referee Ross Clark, who had a good game, deemed that Substitute Gavin Goodall was in an offside position when deflecting the ball into the net. The Referee brought proceedings to a close and both teams certainly gave their all in this pulsating game of Football. Both teams can be proud of their efforts.
FT:- Johnstone Burgh 2 Ashfield 2.