Rovers clinch away win with a late goal
Carluke Rovers’ Craig Grierson was rewarded for a relentless performance at Ashfield when he netted the winning goal near the end.
The visitors were dealt a huge double blow before a ball was even kicked on Saturday.
Just before they started, striker Ciaran Lafferty reported sick, while captain Mark Weir pulled up during the warmup with a calf problem.
Ross Macneil and Dominic Chiedu came into the starting line-up on a slippery surface which the home side settled onto more comfortably than Carluke.
On 15 minutes Rovers received a warning of things to come when Dave Cherrie dived low to his left to turn a close- range shot round the post after the Rovers defence failed to cut off the supply of crosses into their box.
Rovers again failed to heed the warnings two minutes later when Ashfield’s unmarked striker was presented with a free header inside the six-yard box which he flashed across the face of goal for his fellow striker to tap home the opener.
Rovers had rarely threatened the home side’s goal, creating their first real scoring chance after 35 minutes when Chedu threaded a pass to Mcneil on the edge of the box with his snatched shot hitting the side-netting.
Ashfield went two ahead with eight minutes of the first half remaining following another deep cross from the right to Rovers back post. That was headed down to the feet of an Ashfield striker who stroked the ball in from 12 yards.
With seconds remaining in the first half Cherrie pulled off a fantastic reaction save when he tipped a 25-yard netbound shot round the post.
Rovers pulled a goal back straight from the restart as the ball was passed back to the home side’s keeper who was unaware of Eddie Haley sprinting towards him. Haley poked the ball through his legs to claw one back.
The goal seemed to inject belief into the whole Rovers side with Grierson tirelessly running at the Ashfield defence and linking the play freely from midfield.
With Rovers now mounting attack after attack they scored an equaliser on 75 minutes when Grierson set Fitzpatrick free down the right wing, and his cross met the head of Sam Biggart who angled his header into the net.
With 10 minutes remaining, Rovers snatched the win when Grierson finished off a well constructed attack.
Winning strike Craig Grierson (Pic by Kevin Ramage)