Quinn strike gives Ashby Ivanhoe that winning feeling to set up huge play-off game this weekend

By Josh Kay

4th May 2023 | Local Sport

Action from Ashby Ivanhoe's win over OJM Black Country on Wednesday night
Action from Ashby Ivanhoe's win over OJM Black Country on Wednesday night

Ashby Ivanhoe 1 OJM Black Country 0

Danny Quinn's first half goal, combined with a disciplined showing was enough to take Ashby Ivanhoe into Saturday's play-off final.

Quinn's role has been sporadic this season, but the number 19 has been reliable in front of goal when called upon.

His winner was his ninth goal in as many games this season.

Quinn was one of two changes made to the side that defeated OJM in August, a stark contrast to the visitors who lined up with several new additions.

OJM looked to control possession in the first half, while Ivanhoe attempted to utilise the pace of both Liam Donaghy and Sam Grouse, who linked up well on the right flank on several occasions.

This was coupled with sensational hold up play by Quinn, who was able to bring his fellow attackers into the match and create space for Grouse.

Ivanhoe's best chance of the opening half hour came when Grouse's close-range effort was superbly saved by Connor Hopkins, only for the rebound to be hooked off the line by some excellent last ditch defending.

Moments later, Hopkins once again denied Grouse as the number 10 flashed a shot from the edge of the box towards the far corner, only for OJM's goalkeeper to get a fingertip to the ball and turn it wide.

Ivanhoe would not be denied, however. Five minutes before the break, Quinn met Donaghy's free kick, Hopkins once again made a fantastic save, turning the header onto the post.

Fortunately for Ashby, Quinn was first to react, slamming the rebound into an empty net.

OJM's best chance of the half came on the stroke of half time.

After Macauley Holmes committed a foul on the edge of the box, the prolific Zaqib Hussain stepped up to take the resulting free kick. Hussain chose to fire at Tommy Dyche's side, but saw his set piece flash past the post.

The second half started similarly to the first, OJM in control of the ball but rarely threatening Dyche's goal.

Their biggest threat, Reece Morris, looked to use his quick feet to cause Ashby grief on the left, but a series of good blocks and towering headers meant that his final ball game to nothing.

Ivanhoe's best chance of the half came when Grouse ran onto a clipped pass over the defence, he arrived at the ball marginally before Hopkins, taking it past him.

Despite this, the presence of the goalkeeper and centre back meant that Grouse was unable to get his shot away.

Before the final whistle, Dyche was called into action a final time when he denied OJM one on one in the last five minutes.

It was undoubtedly his biggest save in a fine season which has seen him keep 19 clean sheets in all competitions.

The final whistle came as a relief to the majority of the 428 in attendance at the NFU Sports Ground.

But manager Andy Gray knows that the job is only half done, with Ivanhoe welcoming the prolific Droitwich Spa on Saturday.

''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,'' he said following the victory.

The two encounters this season have seen a total of 13 goals, giving Saturday's Midland League play-off final all the hallmarks of an absolute classic.

Kick-off is at the traditional 3pm time and a huge crowd of home and away fans is anticipated.


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