Ashfield continued their Pre-Season preparation against our old friends from McKenna Park however this `friendly` turned out to be a rather feisty affair as both teams gave 110% but were not helped by some erratic refereeing which added to the player`s frustrations. Another nice early afternoon of Sunshine ensured a punishing 90 minutes of Pre-Season workout and the crowd in attendance were treated to a very competitive game. It really was the proverbial game of two halves however both teams squandered good chances in both halves. Both teams started brightly and chances were initially at a premium before the `field began to get some joy down the flanks causing a couple of half chances for the lively Hepburn and Daily up front for Ashfield. The Ants foraged forward at every opportunity also and young Ben Quate in the Ashfield goal had to make an excellent save on the 20 minute mark blocking the 2nd effort with his legs. On the 25 minute mark Ashfield found themselves ahead courtesy of an error from Berhas in the Ants goal. A cross come shot from Ashfield`s Captain Colin Leverage saw the big Spanish Keeper gather the ball however took a step back and carried the ball over the line to put the `field 1-0 up. Ashfield 1 St Anthony`s 0. A couple of niggling fouls ensued with the Referee being kept busy as both teams were determined to make their mark. The `field were on top now and after a couple of corners managed to stretch their lead following a lovely move which saw the Ashfield striker Ben Daily pounce on a loose ball from 8 yards out to leave Berhas with no chance. Ashfield 2 St Anthony`s 0. That was the Ashfield striker`s 4th goal in 3 games. As mentioned earlier there were a couple of niggling fouls which unfortunately developed into an altercation with one of the Ants players being substituted following an off the ball incident. As Referee blew for Half time the crowd knew the game was far from finished.
HT: - Ashfield 2 St Anthony`s 0
The game continued at a fierce pace and the midfield area competitive. The Ants were looking livelier in the 2nd half and had the Ashfield back four working hard. On the hour mark, the `field made seven substitutes to look at different formations. Brad Rodden made an immediate impact and was spraying the ball well about the park. Baz Hepburn had a left foot drive saved by Berhas and another 20 yard effort which sailed just wide. Midway through the half however and the game turned on it`s head after a lovely move down the right from the Ants saw the ball driven low and hard past Ben Quate from a tight angle to bring the Ants right back in it. Ashfield 2 St Anthony`s 1. Ashfield had a big appeal for a penalty with 12 minutes to go when Baz Hepburn was pushed to the ground however the Referee was having none of it and Baz was booked . Another penalty claim was waived aside before the Ants were awarded a spot-kick after some nice play on the edge of the box with 7 minutes to go The Ants Midfielder (No 6) who had an impressive game throughout drove the ball just out of Quate`s reach to bring the game level. Ashfield 2 St Anthony`s 2. The game then swung from end to end with both teams searching for the winner and as the game went into injury time the Ants sealed it when the ball was played to the far post with the ball driven past the Ashfield Keeper to win the game for the Govan men. Ashfield 2 St Anthony`s 3. The Ants were delighted , with the `field despairing at letting a 2-goal lead slip however it was a really good work out for both Teams in preparation for the Season start on 17th July 2021.
FT:- Ashfield 2 St Anthony`s 3
Ashfield`s Team:- B Quale, S Doherty, Trialist, A Cairns, C Leverage (Capt), D Leverage, C McLaughlin, J Howat, D Maguire, B Daily and B Hepburn. Subs:- C Beedham, D Burns, A Byrne, B Daly, B Rodden, J Crumlish, J Barr and R McManus
Man of the Match:- S Doherty