Forth Wanderers 3 Ashfield 1
The Wanderers made two changes from the previous week, Stephen Tait replacing the injured Lachlan Tait at left back and Declan Walker coming in for the unavailable John Rennie in midfield, as they looked to stretch their unbeaten league run to four games. Ashfield on the other hand were looking to get back to winning ways after suffering two straight defeats.
It was Forth who began the match the brighter and came close after only 2 minutes when Jim Dick met a Willie McClaren corner at the back post, only to bullet his header wide. The Wanderers continued to lay siege to the Ashfield goal and got their reward after 10 minutes. Another McClaren corner was played short to Kristopher Dick just outside the box and his accurate shot gave keeper Anton Nugent no chance.
Worse was to follow for the visitors two minutes later when they went further behind. An attempted clearance flattened ‘Field midfielder Sean McBride but play continued and Taylor Scott burst through on goal. Keeper Nugent saved his first effort and defender Mark Huggins did well to block the follow up, but it was third time lucky for Scott as he rolled the ball into the empty net. Forth continued to press and Nugent did well to turn a dangerous McClaren shot away for a corner after 18 minutes.
Ashfield hadn’t posed much of an attacking threat up to this point but all that changed after 22 minutes when they reduced the deficit. Chris Moulangou picked the ball up in the midfield and when the Forth players didn’t close him down he cut inside and rifled a 25 yard shot low into the net. The goal seemed to rejuvenate Ashfield and they forced a few corners without seriously troubling Finnigan in the Forth goal. The final chance of the half fell to the Wanderers, Gary McMullen shooting narrowly wide on 43 minutes, but 2-1 it remained at the interval.
The second half was barely two minutes old when Forth restored their two goal advantage. A precise McClaren free kick was met by Craig Gupwell whose header looked to be going in before John Watson helped it over the line to make it 3-1. McClaren was enjoying himself now and he almost setup Marc Howson at the back post but his cross was just too high. At the other end Andy Finnigan pulled off a great save from an Alec Donnelly header as Ashfield sought to reduce the deficit. The visitors came even closer after 63 minutes when Finnigan touched a Chris Stevenson effort onto the bar and the ball was then cleared from the line.
Forth then came close to increasing their advantage when Kristopher Dick rose to head a McClaren free kick against the bar with Nugent beaten on 72 minutes and then a good Howson ball saw McClaren take on his men and force Nugent into blocking his final shot. The game was swinging from end to end and Stephen Tait did well to clear the ball from the line as Ashfield pressed before Daniel Bisangu dragged his shot wide from a good position. The final chance of the match came from a McClaren free kick which had Nugent scrambling across his goal, but the ball flew narrowly the wrong side of the post.
A well deserved victory for Forth to preserve their unbeaten league record. Next up is a tricky encounter away to local rivals, and league leaders, Lanark United in a fortnight. Forth have no game next week having received a bye in the 1st Round of the Scottish Junior Cup.
Forth team : Finnigan,Watson,S.Tait,Gupwell,McMullen(Howson),J.Dick,Walker,K.Dick,Scott (Hannaway),McGeechan(Grenfell),McClaren