Home league match played on 23 February 2019.
Kicked off at 2:00 PM

As detailed on Twitter earlier, this was the first time in 26 years that the teams had lined up against each other and that was in the Scottish Junior Cup. Today`s Match was reminiscent of a Junior Cup Tie with no holds barred as both teams gave their all to secure the valuable three points on offer. The promise of good weather had diminished and the rain was prevalent during the opening exchanges which were lively to say the least. The `field made one change to their team from last week with new Loan signing Mikey McWilliams coming in for Mark McManus as the home side started off where they left off and within 5 minutes were ahead. After a couple of blocked efforts the ball broke out to Dean Leverage who from 22 yards volleyed the ball goalwards only to see the `kirk goalkeeper pull off a brilliant one handed save however the ball broke to Graeme Hearton and he guided the ball into the back of the net to the delight of the home support. Ashfield 1 Muirkirk 0. That was Graeme`s 9th goal of the Season as Ashfield tried to get a quick fire second with Lee Cochrane`s 20 yard drive narrowly missing the post. The visitors were determined to show that Ashfield would not get this game their own way and a lovely move down the right flank saw the `Kirk Centre put through however his low driven shot was blocked by Farquhar in the Ashfield goal. A real let off for the `field, a warning which they did not `heed` as within 3 minutes the visitors, backed by a vociferous support, were on level terms. A looping ball was played into the Ashfield box with the `field back four coming out to play the offside trap, the visitors carried on and despite an excellent initial save from Farquhar, Steedman for Muirkirk followed up to drill the ball low and hard into the far corner of the net. Ashfield 1 Muirkirk 1. The game then swung from end to end with the home side desperate to get in front before half time and just as both sets of supporters were thinking about their Half time Bovril, Michael Giblin, picked up the ball 5 yards inside the Muirkirk half and after moving forward with the ball unleashed a tremendous dipping shot from fully 35 yards which flew into the top corner of the `kirk net to the delight of the home support. The joy was there to see from the Ashfield players as they celebrated. This certainly eclipsed his 25 yarder at Vale of Leven the week before. Ashfield 2 Muirkirk 1. Whilst Ashfield were celebrating, Muirkirk tried to take a quick kick-off but were hauled back by the Referee who then sent the Muirkirk Manager to the Stand for his protests. ? HT:- ASHFIELD 2 MUIRKIRK 1 ? The game continued at the same pace as the first despite the heavy underfoot conditions. Ashfield were content to let Muirkirk come forward with the ball and began to get some success on the counter attack, a ploy they carried out throughout the second half. The visitors certainly had a `weapon in their armoury` with a long throw expert and as the half wore on this came into play more and more. Ashfield`s back four were extremely solid throughout ably backed up by Cammy Farquhar who commanded his box extremely well. Ashfield made a couple of substitutions and one of them Billy Stevenson almost sealed the game with 12 minutes to go after being played through. The normally reliable forward drilled the ball past the advancing Keeper however to the home support`s anguish narrowly went over the bar. Next up was Graeme Hearton when after a sweeping breakaway was played in however his first time effort with his left foot flew over the bar. Muirkirk certainly pushed everyone forward and the `field were delighted to hear the Full time whistle at the end. Both teams deserve credit for their efforts in difficult conditions. The `field, with Vale of Leven losing at Tannochside , moved into the 3rd spot berth albeit Carluke were in Cup action impressively defeating Kilbirnie Ladeside. It`s all to play for

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