First half goals are enough to see Ashby Ivanhoe through to next stage of FA Vase

By Josh Kay

24th Sep 2023 | Local Sport

Ashby Ivanhoe beat Bilston in the FA Vase on Saturday. Photo: Josh Kay
Ashby Ivanhoe beat Bilston in the FA Vase on Saturday. Photo: Josh Kay

Ashby Ivanhoe 2 Bilston Town 1

Ivanhoe returned to winning ways after Wednesday's disappointing defeat, progressing into the first round proper of the FA Vase in the process.

Facing a familiar opponent from their days in the Midland Football League, Ashby stormed out of the blocks and led inside five minutes through Sam Grouse.

Racing down the right flank, Grouse drove into the box and slotted past Kai Lloyd into the far corner.

Ivanhoe struggled to build on their early momentum, with the visitors seeing much of the ball. Despite this, Sam Taylor was rarely troubled, his only save coming from a free-kick which was met tamely by a visiting player.

Arguably against the run of play, Ashby doubled their lead shortly before the break.

Joel Carta was the provider this time, floating a cross from the left towards James Harrison, who found himself in a pocket of space to head home.

Usually a strong second half team, Ivanhoe may have been expected to put the game beyond Bilston's reach after the break, however Taylor would be far busier than in the first half, making several smart saves before the hour mark.

He was finally beaten from close range as Ethan Pearce chopped inside and finished from six yards out, with little to no pressure from the Ivanhoe defence.

Ivanhoe looked to create chances on the counter attack for the rest of the match, with Bilston looking to control possession but rarely testing Taylor again. The hosts could have put the game out of sight on multiple occasions, as Grouse had efforts saved as well as cleared off the line in the closing minutes.

Once again far from their best, the final whistle was welcome to Andy Gray's team, who have struggled to hit the heights of their early season performances in recent weeks.

Tuesday serves as a chance to regain confidence as Ashby travel to Step 4 Loughborough Dynamo in the Leicestershire Challenge Cup.

Dynamo defeated Ivanhoe in pre-season and will provide a stern test if Gray's team are to progress.


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