Ashfield will look back at this game and learn that sometimes you just have to grind out results when not at your best or that the opponents don`t allow you to play your normal game and yesterday`s Match fell into that category as the `field secured a valuable three points to keep them at the top of the League. Both teams had not met each other for a number of Seasons and it was good to see some familiar faces back at the Peugeot Ashfield Stadium.
The home side started the game on the front foot and a lovely move in the 4th minute saw Dean Leverage`s net bound effort blocked by the legs of the `wood keeper after some excellent link up play between Parker and Hearton. The visitors then had a series of corners testing the Ashfield defence and Keeper as the game was played at a fierce pace. Referee McTiernan also became involved in the early stages dishing out some Cards for some over enthusiastic tackling. As the game seemed to get bogged down in Midfield it was the home side who took the lead courtesy of a wonderful effort from Mark McManus. The Ashfield Midfielder picked up a loose ball on the edge of the box before evading a couple of tackles and lashing the ball with his left foot into the top corner of the net. Ashfield 1 Thorniewood Utd 0. A real collectors items for the Ashfield player and this seemed the settle the `field down as shortly after they went further ahead. A curling corner from Keigan Parker was met by an onrushing John Gaynor who managed to get in front of his markers and guided his header into the far corner of the net to the delight of the home support. Ashfield 2 Thorniewood Utd 0. Ciaran Friel almost increased Ashfield`s lead further from a breakaway however Goalkeeper Duncan blocked his first effort before he drove the ball wide. Thorniewood continued to press before the interval to ensure that this game was not over. HT:- Ashfield 2 Thorniewood Utd 0
James McKenna`s Half time talk certainly worked wonders for the visitors who gave Ashfield a really tough half and ensured a nail biting climax to the Match. It had looked initially that Ashfield would go further ahead as Ashfield`s top scorer Graeme Hearton rounded the advancing `wood Keeper however his angled shot hit the side netting with the goal gaping. A real let off for the visitors who seized this opportunity and did not allow Ashfield much room to play. With 20 minutes left on the clock the visitors managed to pull a goal back following a lobbed shot from the edge of the box by Burns which sailed over John Mullen in the Ashfield goal to ensure it was `game on`. Ashfield 2 Thorniewood Utd 1. Ashfield brought on Billy Stevenson to add a physical presence up front however chances were in short supply for the `field. It was John Mullen that was tested next after the visitors were given a free-kick 22 yards out. The delivery was excellent however the big Ashfield Keeper managed to tip the net bound effort around the post. As Referee McTiernan brought proceedings to a close, the `field knew they had been in a game however they can be delighted with securing the three points despite not being at their best. The `field are back on their travels next week and head to Victoria Park to take on Newmains United.