Ashfield Match Preview

photo from Glasgow Times

After the initial drawing of teams, it looked as though The Hill would be the lone representative of the North-West of the city in Conference A. However, covid-19 intervened and now we are set to begin this exciting new era this Saturday, with Ashfield making the short trip from Possilpark.

Formed just two years after Maryhill FC in 1886, “The Field” boast four Junior Cup wins (all between 1893 and 1910) to go along with 13 league titles at various levels, the first decade of the 20th Century being undoubtedly their most dominant period. They ended their Junior football days strongly, finishing 3rd in the SJFA West League Two.

It doesn’t take much to look back at the last meeting between the two clubs, having just played out a friendly in September with Ashfield coming out on top 4-2. Easdon and O’Neil were on target for The Hill in what was their first outing of the pre-season. Ashfield’s goals were bagged by McManus and (according to twitter) one or more trialists.

Key Player: Callum Graham:
As early as it is in this season, it’s fairly hard to predict who will make the biggest impact on opening week. It didn’t take much scrolling on twitter before I noticed the same name popping up as a scorer during Ashfields pre-season campaign. Most recently, following a 3-1 friendly victory over Vale of Clyde, Manager Paul Maxwell told the Glasgow Times that, even not at his best on the day, Maxwell “provided an attacking threat that kept the Vale defence on their toes throughout”

Interview with Maryhill manager Ross Wilson:
(segment originally featured on twitter)
It’s more than eight months since Maryhill kicked a ball in anger. Coronavirus halted last season, and has put the brakes on the start of this one.
But manager Ross Wilson has used the time wisely and constructed a squad which he thinks can make an impact on the new campaign. And it all gets underway this Saturday when North Glasgow rivals Ashfield visit Lochburn.

Wilson can’t wait, and said: “It will be fantastic to get back to some sort of fragmented reality, as there is only so much preparation you can do, and friendlies you can play.

“At some point the players and coaches need competitive football, and to that end this Saturday can’t come soon enough.

“That said, I’d like to think we have used the time wisely. We’ve recruited a certain way, and I’d like to think we’ve used the pandemic to our advantage by playing eight pre-season friendlies in order to help the players gel together.”

But those eight challenge matches have included games against some of the top teams in the country, like Pollok and Kilwinning Rangers. Wilson explained: “I wanted to test our players against some of the best at our level, and I believe that will help us all in the long run.

“What pleased me most is that we competed against these teams, and whereas we might have suffered heavier defeats before, this time we ran them a lot closer.

“That augurs well for the season ahead, although looking at our re-drawn league, Conference A, there will be no easy games. The league looks really competitive and our aim is to be in the mix from the start.”

The average age of the current Maryhill squad is no greater than 25, and Wilson insisted that he isn’t just building a team for the current season, but for the future.

He said: “This squad is in its infancy. I want to build something long-term at Lochburn; something lasting. That’s my goal.

“I’d like to think I have something approaching 17 or 18 players who would be disappointed if they’re not in the starting eleven. That’s a good place to start.”

Sadly, both Alex McFarlane and Ewan McGuinness will be OUT for the next few weeks
as both are suffering from ligament strains.

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