Anton Conway was the last minute hero as the Ants left it very late to take all three points in a close match at Saracen Park. Ashfield were first to really threaten and it was with a quick counter attack. McLaughlin’s corner was headed clear and Moulangou was sent through on goal but his shot was well held by Wallace who got down quickly to save. The Ants started to find their feet and almost got a lucky break when a mistake by Giblin gave the ball straight to Duncan, the ball stuck under his feet though and he did well to find Heron, who passed inside to McLaughlin, he took a touch before firing a shot goalwards that Quinn did well to save then he blocked from Duncan on the follow up.
Quinn then dealt poorly with a throw in back to him, getting hardly any distance on his kick clear and the ball fell to Heron who hit it first time from 20 yards but the Ants striker put too much height on it and fired over. Another poor Quinn kick out in the 24th minute led to the Ants first goal when his goal kick found Doyle but he was robbed of possession to McLean who passed to CHRIS MCLAUGHLIN, The Ants midfielder burst forward to the edge of the box then fired low past Quinn for his first competitive goal for the club. The Ants almost doubled their lead two minutes later when McLean’s long ball was knocked on by Heron to Duncan but Quinn made a great save with his boot to stop the Ants hitman from extending the visitors lead.
Ashfield started to settle from the disruption of the goal and Moulangou again caused problems in the Ants defence, a long ball from Giblin saw the front man get between Dougan and Donnelly but Wallace was quick off his line to narrow the angle and save with his legs and the chance was gone then the forward had claims for a penalty denied when he appeared to throw himself to the ground under the slightest contact from Dougan and the ref waved play on. Heron then had another great chance when McLean whipped a ball into the box but he couldn’t direct his header on target. The Ants front men were giving the Ashfield defence a torrid time and Heron again fired off a shot, this time from a Donnelly cut back but it lacked the power to cause Quinn any real trouble and the teams went in at half time with the Ants a goal up.
HALF TIME ASHFIELD 0 v 1 ANTS
The second half started in controversial fashion when Ashfield were awarded a spot kick when Moulangou again went down, this time as Donnelly stepped across the ball to shepherd it out for a goal kick and much to the amazement of the Ants fans, Mr Cousland pointed straight to the spot where BARRY TULLOCH made no mistake sending Wallace the wrong way to level the scores at.1-1. This seemed to take the Ants out of their stride and Ashfield started to enjoy the lions share of possession, Moulangou set up Tulloch but his shot from 12 yards didnt really trouble Wallace then the Ants keeper stood tall to beat away a Hashim Cole effort following a fine move by the home side. Cole then robbed McLean but his shot from 20 yards went just wide. The Ants started to come back into the game and McLaughlin almost grabbed his second of the match but his effort was matched with a quality save from Quinn who did well to get his hands to a dipping shot and push it over the bar.
Ashfield then had another penalty claim turned down when Moulangou went down in the box for the third time, this time as he tried to go past Donnelly but Mr Cousland this time judged that no infringement had taken place and waved play on. Quinn will have had nightmares about his kicking that night as another kick landed straight at an Ants man, McDougall found McKay and he slipped in Heron, but Quinn made another fine save to atone for the error and the scores remained level.
Time looked to be running out for either side to grab a winner, but in the 95th minute the Ants grabbed the chance with both hands. McLaughlin lined up a free kick from 30 yards and looked to have a strike on goal, his effort was blocked by the Ashfield wall and the ball went out for a throw in to the Ants. Crawford launched the ball into the box and Ants captain ANTON CONWAY rose highest in the box to flick the ball past Quinn who had been caught in no mans land and the ball found its way into the net sparking wild celebrations from the Ants players, management and fans.
FULL TIME – ASHFIELD 1 (Tulloch 48 Pen), v 2 Ants (McLaughlin 24, Conway 90+5)
Ants Website Man of Match – Purely for the last minute goal its gotta be Anton Conway!