Ashby Ivanhoe 5 Dunton & Broughton Rangers 2

Tuesday 17th April 2012
Ashby Ivanhoe 5 Dunton & Broughton Rangers 2
Everards Brewery Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division
At: Hood Park, North Street, Ashby-de-la-Zouch
Kick-off: 7-30 pm
Admission and programme: £3 (28 pages)
Weather: cold and dry (heavy rain and hail an hour before kick-off)
Attendance: 60 (headcount)
Duration: first-half: 46:30; second-half: 48:42

Ashby Ivanhoe’s first team bid farewell to their long-standing Hood Park home with a comfortable 5-2 victory over Dunton & Broughton Rangers. Phil Gibson and substitute Dan Stevenson both scored twice with the final goal being a spectacular volley from Dunton’s Danny Smith.

Until last week, I wasn’t aware of Ashby Ivanhoe’s imminent departure from Hood Park to a redeveloped Lower Packington Road Sports Ground. The new ground, which will be known as the NFU Sports Ground, is currently being refurbished and upgraded in time for the start of next season. I must, therefore, thank Chris1963, for his message on the Non-League Matters ForumCan anyone confirm that Ashby Ivanhoe's home game on Tues 17th April (see their website) will be the last 1st team game at Hood Park? And why is the kick-off given as 6.30pm, given that they have played earlier home games under lights?

Further investigations confirmed the news and an update on the Groundhopping Forum gave more information… Last first team game at Ashby Ivanhoe's Hood Park on Tuesday 17th April ko 7.30pm and programme being issued. Indeed Ashby own website backed this up:

FINAL FIRST TEAM MATCH AT HOOD PARK - 17TH APRIL: The first team will play their final match at Hood Park before moving into their new ground next season when they play Dunton & Broughton Rangers on Tuesday 17th April 7:30pm. A programme will be issued for this match to mark the occasion.

While there was nothing at stake in terms of promotion or relegation, I decided to head east for what was only the third league game I’d seen in the Leicestershire Senior League. Ashby (9th with 39 points from 27 games) were guaranteed a top-ten finish and went into this farewell match looking to extend their current run of two straight league wins. Visitors Dunton & Broughton Rangers (30 points from 28 games) sat three places lower in the table. With their 30 league games already completed Rothley Imperial (72 points) are the 2011/12 Premier Division champions, six points clear of runners-up Lutterworth Athletic.

Found on North Street at the back of the leisure centre and next to Ivanhoe Specialist Technology College, the pitch was fully railed off with hardstanding around the bottom right-hand corner. Changing rooms were located at the end of the leisure centre building with some covered standing.

Ashby (in all blue with red trim) got the game underway defending the changing rooms end in the first half. They took the lead with a well-taken goal in the 8th minute. Sam Kirk got down the right and crossed into the area. The ball was cleared back to Kirk who crossed deep towards the far post. Phil Gibson knocked it back for George Carling to finish with a low shot into the bottom right corner.

Dunton levelled things up not long after the midpoint of the first half. Danny McNutly got on the end of the deep cross from the left and forced a save out of John Noon. The ball ran free and McNulty forced it home at close range despite the efforts of the Ashby keeper to keep it out.

I positioned myself on halfway opposite the dugouts and watched the first half in the company of Neil, Simon, Gyles and Dave. Elsewhere amongst the large gathering of groundhoppers were ‘Groundhop Chris’ and the aforementioned Chris1963 (without his information I'd have been elsewhere tonight).

Ashby defender Joe Elkin was forced out of the game through injury and his departure forced a reshuffle at the back. Tall substitute Dan Stevenson went up front and he sent a close range header over the bar from Kirk’s corner with his first touch.

The home side dominated the last 15 minutes of the first half and Gibson was unlucky not to find the net from any of several decent chances. He was unlucky to see a header from Kirk’s cross blocked on the line by defender Chris Hubbard.

In the 38th minute, Kirk’s left-wing corner wasn’t cleared and Gibson saw a shot headed off the line by George Tyler.

As the interval approached, Chris Nettel headed Russ Wagg’s cross against the bar. From the corner, in the second minute of stoppage time, Gibson finally got on the scoresheet with a near-post header.

After another visit to Big Pete’s Quality Snacks, where hot drinks were unusually priced at 65p, I resumed my spot on the half-way line opposite the dugouts. Early in the second half, Dunton’s Tyler was unlucky to pick up a booking for what looked like a decent tackle on Kirk.

Ashby continued to create chances and doubled their lead in the 58th minute. Kirk’s throw-in from the right wasn’t cleared and Stevenson turned on the edge of the six-yard box before firing home.

Just before the hour mark, Kirk, on the right, fired towards the near post where Dunton goalkeeper David Fradley saved.

Thankfully the rain and hail before kick-off wasn’t repeated during the game though it did turn a lot colder. Midway through the second half, Craig Sutton, up with the attack, got in a well-stuck shot from the edge of the area which John Noon kept out and a follow-up shot was blocked by a defender.

It wasn’t long before Ashby got on the scoresheet again to further extend their lead. Stevenson had time inside the area to beat a couple of defender before shooting low past Fradley for his second goal of the evening.

After a flurry of three further substitutions, 4-1 became 5-1 in the 77th minute. Hubbard brought down Elliott Bott inside the area and Gibson stepped up to send Fradley the wrong way with the resulting penalty. The goal, according to Ashby’s website, was Gibson’s 42nd of the season.

It was fitting that the final goal scored at Hood Park during an Ashby Ivanhoe first-team fixture was a spectacular strike. James Nutt crossed from the right for Danny Smith to hit an unstoppage first-time right-foot volley that flew past Noon.

Ashby Ivanhoe (blue/blue/blue): 1. John Noon, 2. John Smith, 3. Russ Wagg, 4. Jamie Yeomans, 5. Joe Elkin, 6. Chris Nettel (capt), 7. Sam Kirk, 8. Luke Thorogood, 9. Phil Gibson, 10. George Carling, 11. Evan Cawley. Subs: 12. Dan Stevenson (for Elkin, 28), 14. Jack Ryder (not used), 15. Elliott Bott (for Cawley, 63), 16. Jack Willars (for Kirk, 74), 17. Mark Smalley (not used). Manager: Kevin Allsop. Head coach: David Hunt.

Dunton & Broughton Rangers (red/black/black): 1. David Fradley, 2. Liam Conaghan, 3. George Tyler, 4. Chris Hubbard, 5. Craig Sutton (capt), 6. Tom Payne, 7. Greg Richards, 8. Ross Blockley, 9. Danny McNulty, 10. Chris Cooper, 11. Paddy Banks. Subs: 12. Scott Gray (for Tyler, 74), 14. Ryan Voce (not used), 15. Danny Smith (for Richards, 74), 16. James Nutt (for Blockley, 61). Manager: Lee Jacques. Assistant manager: Micky Rowe.

Referee: Olly Bickall.
Assistants: Pete Bradbury and Dan Foster.

1-0 George Carling (8)
1-1 Danny McNulty (25)
2-1 Phil Gibson (45+2)
3-1 Dan Stevenson (57)
4-1 Dan Stevenson (70)
5-1 Phil Gibson (77 pen)
5-2 Danny Smith (87)

Ashby: Luke Thorogood (YC, 35)
Dunton: George Tyler (YC, 48), Paddy Banks (YC, 77)