Groocock double seals vital win as Ashby Ivanhoe hit top form again against Bilston

By Josh Kay

16th Oct 2022 | Local Sport

Action from Ashby Ivanhoe's win over Bilston at the NFU Ground
Action from Ashby Ivanhoe's win over Bilston at the NFU Ground

Ashby Ivanhoe 3 Bilston Town 0

Will Groocock's double helped Ashby sweep aside fellow promotion challengers Bilston at a packed NFU ground,

With a serious leg injury to striker Dan Quinn sustained at Coton Green, Groocock once again proved to manager Andy Gray that he is a more than viable replacement to lead the line alongside Sam Grouse.

He could have given Ivanhoe the lead early on if not for a vital challenge by Bilston's Taryll Davis, who blocked a goal bound effort after Groocock took the ball around goalkeeper Brandon Hillback.

The hosts efforts were rewarded five minutes before half-time however when Josh Thomas' teasing cross was turned goalwards by defender Aaron Weston, leaving Hillback stranded.

Refusing to rest on their laurels, Ivanhoe would double their lead moments later, Groocock deservedly finding the net.

Latching onto Will Robson's chipped pass, Groocock's shot found the corner via a small deflection off a Bilston defender.

After the break, Ashby could have sealed the points early when Grouse was brought down. Usually so reliable from 12 yards, his spot lick was placed narrowly wide.

Not to be deterred, Grouse would turn provider for Groocock's second of the match.

Picking up the ball left of the penalty area, his pass found the feet of his strike partner, who made no mistake, sliding the ball underneath Hillback.

In the dying embers of the match, the visitors were reduced to 10 men.

As Ashby looked to further their advantage, substitute James Archer was shown a second yellow card for a cynical foul.

The sending off could have reduced Bilston to nine, however the referee chose not to penalise a visiting player after a controversial altercation with an Ashby ballboy.

After the match, manager Andy Gray described his side's performance as a "dominant display", but noted that his side will still be looking to add to the forward ranks after Quinn's injury.

Ashby are currently third in the Midland League Division One table - five points behind leaders Dudley Town with a game in hand.

Next week sees a return to FA Vase action for Ivanhoe with a clash against Newark & Sherwood United, who sit in Step 5 of the Non-League Pyramid.

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