Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division
A decision was made Friday afternoon that I would get up early for the second Saturday in succession to go and watch a game of football. The choice was an easy one this time as Ashby are a club I have been meaning to visit for a while, in fact I went their last season only for it to be when FC Braunstone Victoria did one of their two no-shows.
Ashby-de-la-Zouch is a small market town in north-west Leicestershire (population 12,758 - Wikipedia) between Coalville and Burton-upon-Trent. It's most well known landmark is it's ruined castle. Ashby Ivanhoe the team play on Hood Park which is on the edge of the town centre, the centrance to which is next door to Ivanhoe College. The club were promoted to Division 1 of the Leicestershire Senior League from the North Leicestershire League in 2005. In their first season they finished a creditable 3rd place, 7th place followed the next season while last season saw them finish runners-up to today's opponents Asfordby Amateurs. Asfordby joined the Leicestershire Senior League in 1991 and have spent most of their time in the lower division, only a three year stint in the mid-nineties has been in the Premier Division. The close season saw contrasting fortunes for both teams with Ashby progressing off the field with the installation of floodlights, things down at Asfordby have not gone so well with the resignation of their manager and (I believe) all of last season's squad not re-signing. They actually resigned from the LSL twice but have been persuaded to carry on.
Ashby started their campaign last week at Thurmaston Town with a 4-3 victory, and this was followed up with a League Cup tie against the same opponents. The result: 12-2. Asfordby were at home last weekend to one of the favourites, Blaby & Whetstone Athletic and were hammered 9-0. A trip to Ravenstone followed in midweek in the League Cup and they came away with a
2-0 defeat. There was technally no admission as the club play on a public park but charge £2.50 for a programme. The club do have plans to enclose the ground and progress from the Leicestershire Senior League - watch this space as it were.
Now to the game itself...
The first goal came on 17 minutes when Richard Hanslow made it 1-0 when he lobbed the ball over the visiting keeper, this was after the home sided created three excellent chances in the first fifteen minutes. Ten minutes later and it was 2-0 when Phil Gibson tapped the ball in from six yards after a 20 yard shot crashed against the bar. Phil Gibson got his second on 39 minutes to make it 3-0 when he turned in a low drilled free kick from the left hand side. Either side of the goals Ashby had chances come and go with a combination of poor finishing and good defending / goalkeeping keeping the score down.
Half Time: 3-0
The second half was barely two minutes old when Richard Hanslow got his second of the game to make it 4-0 when he turned between three Asfordby defenders and placed the ball into the corner of the goal. The fifth came fifteen minutes later when Hanslow completed his hat-trick after being put through on the right hand side, he drilled an angled shot into the far corner of the goal. It became 6-0 on 70 minutes when Hanslow scored again, this time from a ball played over the top of the defence and he finished with aplom. Phil Gibson completed his hat-trick on 79 minutes when he turned the ball home after a scramble in the penalty area to make it 7-0. The scoring was still not finished as on 82 minutes Hanslow got his fith of the game, turning the full back inside out before placing the ball into the far corner. Cue comments from bench "you're being greedy". The best of the goals was the last as James Fisher hit a screamer from fully 25 - 30 yards after a corner was not cleared properly. The second half also saw Ashby create many more chances than the ones they scored and on another day it could have been well into double figures.
Final score: 9-0
Ashby Ivanhoe: http://www.ashbyivanhoefc.com/
Asfordby Amateurs: http://www.asfordbyamateurs.co.uk/