Big Match Preview: Ashby Ivanhoe aiming for promotion on home turf in play-off clash with Droitwich Spa

By Josh Kay

5th May 2023 | Local Sport

Action from Ashby Ivanhoe's last meeting with Droitwich Spa at the NFU Ground
Action from Ashby Ivanhoe's last meeting with Droitwich Spa at the NFU Ground

Promotion is up for grabs at the NFU Sports Ground today (Saturday) as Ashby Ivanhoe welcome Droitwich Spa.

Ivanhoe defeated OJM Black Country on Wednesday night to host the final, while visitors Droitwich came from 3-1 down to stun Hinckley AFC, winning 4-2 on penalties.

The shootout victory was the latest moment in what has been a sensational season for Spa.

In their first season at Step 6, a fourth-place finish and a play-off Semi-Final victory has put them among the established big hitters in the division.

Ivanhoe have only conceded a league best 18 League goals this season at the NFU.

While Spa's 50 goals scored on the road is second best in the division.

The Key Men: Ivanhoe goalkeeper Tommy Dyche has kept 19 clean sheets in all competitions this season.

Cementing his place between the sticks with his excellent performances, he has started every league match this season.

Dyche has racked up seven POTM awards this season, joint second on the team.

He'll be tasked with stopping Droitwich's top scorer James Lemon, who has netted 24 goals this season.

Lemon scored in both matches this season against today's opponents and has captained his side this season.

The Manager's assessment: Ashby manager Andy Gray looked ahead to the fixture after Ivanhoe's victory on Wednesday night: ''They are an absolute threat going forward, but they do let a few goals in.

"It's going to be a cup final as such, but we're confident as always and we're looking forward to it''.

Previous encounters: 28/01/23: Droitwich Spa 3-3 Ashby Ivanhoe 11/12/22: Ashby Ivanhoe 4-3 Droitwich Spa

Team News: Chris Acott and Will Groocock missed Ivanhoe's Semi-Final victory with injury, both could feature today however with strong performances across the board it is unclear whether Gray will be willing to make any changes from Wednesday.

Josh Hurdman has started just once this season, however his stunning equaliser on Monday could put him in contention to start.

Match Details: Date: Saturday May 6, 15:00 Kick-off Location: The NFU Sports Ground, Ashby De La Zouch, LE65 1TS


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