Cumbernauld United 2
Two goals from striker Paul McLaughlin returning to the United team after suspension and illness, gave the Cumbernauld side three more good league points at Guy’s Meadow, on Saturday.
This win, United’s fourth in a row, leaves the locals in a clear third place in the Super League 1st Division. The result was never really in doubt United controlling the contest throughout, but scorning good chances to make it a greater winning margin.
Ashfield, demoted from the Premier Division last season only threatened spasmodically and most of their attacking play was countered by resolute defensive action by the Cumbernauld rearguard.
In perfect playing conditions on an immaculate surface, the match began at a fast and furious pace as both teams looked for an early advantage.
The first real effort at goal, however, did not arrive until the 15th minute. A great move from defence saw Ryan Haxton and Scott Upton combine to give Joe McCafferty the ball. Joe’s persistence and tenacity when challenged by two Ashfield defenders gave him the chance to square the ball to Jake Fitzgerald. Jake’s effort was confidently dealt with by Chris Prior in the visiting goal.
The Possilpark team hit back and Dave Buchanan in the United goal had to look lively to save from Dylan Dasty.
In the 30th minute United got their reward for some forceful play when they were awarded a penalty. A great crossfield pass from Paul McLaughlin reached Ryan Haxton who found flying winger Joe McCafferty on the right. Joe’s cross caused all sorts of bother in the Ashfield defence and McLaughlin was eventually brought down in the box. Paul took the resultant spotkick himself sending Prior the wrong way to give United the lead.
Although United were on top for most of the first half their Glasgow opponents enjoyed a good spell, as the interval approached which culminates in an Andy Brand shot that came back off a post and was cleared.
Minutes after the break Cumbernauld increased their lead with a second Paul McLaughlin goal which was a thing of beauty.
A Tony Fraser long ball over the Ashfield defence was collected by McLaughlin who ran on and so casually and cheekily chipped over the advancing keeper.
It was all United now and a Ross Foley run and cross resulted in another McLaughlin effort saved. Then a Jake Fitzgerald Foray on the left finished with a cross that was just too awkward for Joe McCafferty.
Ashfield were trying hard to get back into the match and a tremendous shot from Tony Chalmers was brilliantly tipped over the bar by Dave Buchanan in the home goal.
James Brown had come on as a substitute and it was not long before United were troubling the visiting defence again. The home team were playing some excellent football with one man in particular in superb form, Scott Upton. Scott covered every inch of the pitch in his best display so far for the Cumbernauld team.
A good victory for United and their manager John Queen which augers well for future fixtures.
The Cumbernauld boys by virtue of receiving a bye in the first round of the Scottish Junior Cup have no fixture this Saturday. The next match is an away league game against Kilwinning Rangers on October 5.
This season’s top scorer so far, Chris Zok, returns to the squad after suspension for the Kilwinning match.
Details of times for the Original Supporters bus to Kilwinning will be published in the News next week.
United: Buchanan, Renwick, Fraser, Haxton, Boyle, Foley, McCafferty, Upton, McLaughlin, Thomson, Fitzgerald. Subs: Brown, Ward, Stewart, Trialist, Quinn.
Ashfield: Prior, Hylands, Mannginn, McKay, Brand, Chalmers, Barclay, McGhee, Dasty, Fraser, Gilmartin. Subs: Kirkwood, Marshall, McCrone, Adams, Cowie.