Ash­field’s friendly fire si­lences the big guns from Kil­syth...


Evening Times - - SPORT - By JIM O’DON­NELL

ANY vic­tory would have been warmly re­ceived by Ash­field sup­port­ers given the fa­mous old Pos­sil out­fit’s stand­ing at the end of last sea­son as the fourth worst team in the Cen­tral Sec­ond Divi­sion.

But it would be no ex­ag­ger­a­tion to say the man­ner of their per­for­mance in run­ning out 4-2 win­ners against Kil­syth Rangers, a side two leagues above them, was no less than eye-catch­ing.

It should be said the muchchanged vis­i­tors do not have the look of a side that has the mak­ings of a Su­per First Divi­sion force this time out.

How­ever, that must not be al­lowed to de­tract from the clear signs of progress within the Sara­cen Park dress­ing room.

Team boss Robert Docherty was away on an SFA coach­ing course in­stead of pac­ing his nor­mal touch­line beat, but he will be en­cour­aged to hear the re­ports from his dugout lieu­tenants, one of whom Paul Maxwell made a scor­ing con­tri­bu­tion while play­ing for the open­ing 45 min­utes.

Maxi said: “Robert has been very selec­tive in go­ing up against higher-league teams on ev­ery oc­ca­sion, yet the play­ers have stepped up to the mark to win three and draw one of our four matches.

“I fully be­lieved Kil­syth would pro­vide our tough­est test to date, but we blew them away and the key now is to carry our im­pres­sive early form when we get into the com­pet­i­tive stuff next Wed­nes­day night.

“I know bet­ter than to get car­ried away with pre-sea­son games but I will say there are signs of a de­cent Ash­field team com­ing to the fore.”

The home side were in the as­cen­dancy from the first whis­tle, yet the best of the early scor­ing chances came for Kil­syth but Alan McFad­den directed a shot wide of tar­get, be­fore Franny Kelly sent a shot over the bar.

Ash­field’s re­sponse was a daisy-cut­ter from Michael Giblin in 39 min­utes that came back off the post, but Maxi and Co were not de­nied for long as their next at­tack­ing foray saw Paddy Cullen take ad­van­tage of a slip by Kil­syth stopper Liam Sloan to fire the ball home from eight yards.

That ad­van­tage was dou­bled be­fore the in­ter­val as Chris Moulangu took pos­ses­sion near the cor­ner flag and was al­lowed to work his way into the penalty box where his driven cross was net­ted by the lurk­ing Maxwell from point-blank range.

A con­fi­dence-boost­ing re­sult looked in the bag when the hard-work­ing Giblin made the score­line read 3-0 with a mishit 66th-minute free kick that went through Kil­syth’s wall and slipped through goal­keeper Michael Duke’s grasp.

How­ever, Kil­syth, with man­ager Keith Hogg in­tro­duced as a mid­field sub­sti­tute, were now be­ing seen more as an at­tack­ing force and their fans had spir­its lifted as McFad­den and Scott Davidson net­ted goals in a fran­tic four-minute pe­riod.

Hopes of a come­back, though, were dashed when an 86th-minute Ash­field cor­ner kick flicked on at the near post reached the un­marked Ste­vie Dy­mock, who volleyed home to clinch a 4-2 vic­tory.

GOALS were cer­tainly not scarce in other pre-sea­son friendly meet­ings tak­ing place.

Beith and Pol­lok net­ted five times against Gir­van and Bon­nyrigg Rose re­spec­tively, Irvine Meadow blasted six goals past Hadding­ton Ath­letic and high- scor­ing Kil­win­ning Rangers hit­ting dou­ble fig­ures in their clash with Ross­vale.

Ross McPher­son weighed in with a brace and Keir Mil­liken, John Sheri­dan and Dar­ren Christie also net­ted as the Mighty went nap against their Su­per Premier Divi­sion ri­vals while Pol­lok re­sound­ingly over­came last sea­son’s beaten Scot­tish Cup semi-fi­nal­ists.

Medda close-sea­son sign­ings Ed­die McTer­nan (3) and Daniel Mackay (2) were again on the mark at Hadding­ton along with a counter from Ryan Be­g­ley and Buffs new­com­ers Michael Wardrope, David Win­ters(2) and Ryan Nis­bet were among a to­tal of seven scor­ers against the Cen­tral First Divi­sion out­fit.

Hurl­ford United’s win­ning ways con­tin­ued with a 4-0 vic­tory at Ruther­glen while Cly­de­bank over­came Gart­cairn 4-1.

That same score­line suf­ficed as Cum­nock striker Sean McKen­zie’s pre-sea­son tally rose to nine goals in three games af­ter the ex-Ayr United man bagged a dou­ble at home to St Roch’s.

Else­where, Larkhall This­tle’s chalked up a 2-0 de­feat of Whitletts Vics while Neil­ston beat Irvine Vics 3-0.

Mean­while, the in­au­gu­ral Troon Ju­niors pre-sea­son com­pe­ti­tion didn’t go ac­cord­ing to plan as the hosts and fel­low Ju­nior par­tic­i­pants Arthurlie lost out to the Un­der-20 sides of Kil­marnock and St Mir­ren in the open­ing head-to-heads while the fifth Den­nis Don­nelly Me­mo­rial game saw Ben­burb come out on top 2-1 against Ar­drossan Win­ton Rovers.

Paddy Cullen, top, and Ste­vie Dy­mock, above, both got in on the scor­ing act for Ash­field in their friendly vic­tory over Kil­syth Rangers at the week­end. Pic­tures: Stew­art Attwood

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