The Ants started 2019 with a bang as a 79th minute KAMIL LESZCZYNSKI goal put Ashfield to the sword and means the visitors still haven’t won at McKenna Park since 2008.
The Ants started brightly and were on the front foot from the first whistle but it was Ashfield who fashioned the first chance of the match in the 10th minute but captain Ciaran Friel shot straight at McCallum after a nice through ball from Smith. The Ants then had their first chance four minutes later but a volley from the edge of the box flew past Farquhar’s near post. Both teams were trying to play some football on the excellent McKenna Park surface and Arthur thought he had sent Kamil through on goal but the pass was just slightly over hit allowing Farquhar to come out and beat the new Ants signing to the ball.
As the half progressed the Ants looked the more likely to score and when the Ashfield goalkeeper spilled a Leszczynski shot Arthur raced in and seemed destined to score his 10th of the season but the ‘Field keeper got up quickly and redeemed himself with a touch that put the ball over the bar and then got the rub of the green when the ref pointed for a goal kick. Having said that Ashfield did look dangerous when they got forward and Smith just failed to connect properly to a cross which McCallum got down well to gather. Both teams were defending well and the Ashfield backline did well to close down Arthur after MacDonald had found him with a fine pass and the striker couldn’t get his shot away then Farquhar made a great save after a sublime touch by Ants winger MacDonald gave him room in the box to get his shot away. Ashfield had bolstered their squad with three new signings before the match and one of those, Amos, almost marked his second debut for Ashfield with a goal when he leapt highest in the box at a corner only to see his header hit the bar and go over. In the 38th minute Lezczynski was sent scampering towards goal but was well marshalled by the ‘Field defence and couldn’t get his shot away properly then Crawford came within inches of opening the scoring for the Ants just before the break but his free kick went just past the post.
HALF TIME – ANTS 0 v 0 ASHFIELD
For as much as the Ants had shaded the first half, Ashfield will feel they had probably the better of the second half but as in the first half it was against the run of play for the first chance of the half when an Arthur cutback found Leszczynski who looked like he was about to stroke the ball into the net only to be denied by a great block by Leverage and the chance was gone. The McKenna Park wind had been blowing strongly all day and it seemed to get behind Ashfield captain Friels cross which had just to much pace on it for Cochrane to get on the end of it at the back post. Despite Ashfield having more of the possession the Ants always looked a threat going forward and the McKenna Park faithful thought Mark McIlvaney had broken the deadlock in the 63rd minute with a floating effort that went just wide of Farquhar’s near post with the keeper diving at full stretch. Ashfield themselves then had a great chance to open the scoring when McCallum made a fine save only to see the ball fall to Cochrane who wrong footed the keeper with his effort but could only watch on as it went just past the far post.
You had the feeling that there was a goal coming, but it would be difficult to say who for, with the match going from end to end. Ants sub Fitzpatrick coming close only to see his shot go just wide then Ashfield firing over from the edge of the box. A goal did come though and it was for the home side in the 79th minute. Gallacher’s through ball found KAMIL LESZCZYNSKI and the Ants striker made no mistake as he slid the ball under the keeper much to the delight of the McKenna Park faithful. As you would expect Ashfield pressed for an equaliser with the Ants content to play on the break and this almost paid dividends for the home team but Fitzpatrick couldn’t direct a shot on target then Leszczynski almost slipped his fellow striker in on goal but the pass just had too much on it. Deep into injury time Ashfield had a couple of corners and it was from one of those they almost got an equaliser when ex Ant Billy Stevenson got a flick onto the corner only to have his heart broken by an excellent stop by Ants goalkeeper McCallum and the ball was eventually cleared. It became apparent that something had went wrong for the Ants keeper after making the save and he had to swap positions with Ants defender Graeme Crawford following an injury to his hand left him unable to continue in goals but with the Ants having used all 3 subs the keeper repositioned himself upfront for the last minute of the match.
The refs whistle blew shortly after to signal a great start to 2019 for The Ants who closed to within 3 points of Ashfield in fourth with the win
|January 12, 2019||1:45 pm||West Region League 2||2018-19||90'|
|392 Shieldhall Rd, Glasgow G51 4JA, UK|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals|
|Saint Anthony’s FC||0||1||1|