Beith Juniors FC: Match Reports: Beith v Ashfield - Match Report from Robbie Sanderson

Saturday, January 5
Beith v Ashfield - Match Report from Robbie Sanderson

Beith Juniors 2 Ashfield 1

Beith: Strain, McShane, Wilson, Wild, Sheridan, Docherty, Hardie, Lang, McLean,
Reid, McGowan. Subs: Mackie, Irvine, Howarth, Brash, Greenwood (gk)
Ashfield: S Hall, Darroch, Mangan, Coll, McShane, Carley, McCann, Maxwell, C
Hall, Fraser, Wright. Subs: Ferguson, Smith, McMennaman

Beith will be delighted to have collected full points from a tough contest
against a  decent Ashfield side who are likely to be amongst competitors in the
battle to remain in the top flight.

Frank Lynch was looking for his side to continue their improved form since his
return and they got there in the end having to fight back from a goal down. The
hosts had the slope in their advantage and Kenny McLean had a shot blocked in a
crowded penalty box after a fairly even start. The visitors were then gifted an
opportunity when Marc McShane miscued to give away a corner and his side were
relieved to see a dangerous McCann centre pass through without a touch.

Soon after McShane was clattered late by Paul Maxwell who was rightly yellow
carded by referee Irvine in the first of a long list he accrued over the course
of the match. Beith then had a great opportunity to take the lead when Gary
Wilson won the ball on the halfway line and sent Kenny McLean sprinting clear
only for the normally clinical striker to tamely dink the ball into keeper
Stephen Hall's arms when he perhaps should have opted to go round him.

The match continued to be evenly contested with Ashfield shading the midfield
contest with pacy forward Gary McCann looking ever dangerous when in possession. 
Darroch of Ashfield and Beith's Gary Wilson picked up cards from the fussy ref
as the sides probed for the vital opener. Beith applied some steady pressure and
keeper Hall got down well to smother an Andy Reid shot before a Nicky Docherty
effort was cleared off the goal line. The home side continued to press and after
shouts for a penalty were ignored, a Lang shot was well stopped by Hall.

Ashfield were also dangerous as the game to and fro'd and Maxwell went close
when a speculative shot from an acute angle dipped inches over the bar. Beith
keeper Adam Strain also made a brave save at Shaun Fraser's feet before the
sides went off for the interval honours even.

Beith rejigged their line up for the restart sacrificing Nicky Docherty for the
more physical qualities of Chris Mackie only to find themselves a goal behind
when Ashfield striker Chris Hall capitalised on a Marc McShane blunder on the
edge of his own box to prod the ball home with keeper Strain and defender Wild
stranded.  Andy  Reid and more significantly Ashfield's ex-Beith centre back Lee
McShane received yellow cards as the contest escalated. Beith then made further
changes to reshape their toiling midfield and new signing Ross Brash and Kris
Irvine added some fresh impetus at the expense of the pedestrian Jay Lang and
striker Andy Reid. The pace was duly upped with Ashfield, who hadn't played a
competitive fixture since  mid November, now looking a bit tired, and the home
side quickly turned the game. The score was levelled in the 72nd minute when
Irvine crossed to the back post for Calum Hardie to head back across for Marc
McShane to head home powerfully to atone for his earlier mistake.

Beith were clearly rejuvenated and swept into the lead 2 minutes later when
slightly out of form but ever dangerous Kenny McLean picked his spot perfectly
to head into the bottom corner from a Hardie centre. Ashfield's plight increased
a minute later when Lee McShane stupidly collected a second yellow committing
another foul and Gary Wild brought out a great save from keeper Hall to touch
his effort over from the resultant free kick. Chris Mackie then missed a great
opportunity to extend Beith's lead when he headed a McGowan corner over the bar
from close in.

Ashfield were unwilling to accept defeat easily and sub Ferguson headed just
wide from a cross from another sub ex-Beith defender Paul McMennamin. Beith
continued to create good openings but as the clock ticked on their narrow lead
looked increasingly fragile as their defence became nervy. Adam Strain had to
make a stop to block an effort from Wright as the visitors went for broke. The
yellow card tally again took its toll when Beith's Davie McGowan collected his
second in the last minute of regulation time.

Beith were not to be denied however and it was Ashfield keeper Hall who made a
wonder save in the last action of a thoroughly entertaining match to somehow
claw an Irvine header off the line.

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