One league game down, three points on the board and just 25 league games to go.
That’s the case for Moneyslane as they began their promotion bid with a 2-1 win over Laurelvale thanks to two goals from Gregg Harrison.
It was an historic day as the new Jubilee Park saw its first competitive fixture. With the pitch and changing rooms complete and the ground officially opened last Saturday there was great excitement and expectation at finally seeing football in Moneyslane Village.
Before the game, there was talk that the visitors were understrength due to missing players but the home team were without captain Gareth Bingham, Darragh Peden and Jordan Fairley injured and Chris Kerr suspended.
When the game kicked off, it was a cagey opening but the home team were shading possession. Laurelvale had a number of free-kicks outside the box and Blevins saved well from one of these.
The first goal arrived on 30 minutes when Quilty won the ball in midfield and played a cracking through ball for Harrison to control and fire past the advancing keeper. Almost immediately, Gregg Harrison broke down the right and he out-paced the defenders but saw his shot blocked by the keeper.
The away team had a header just wide at the back post and Blevins parried a hooked shot from close range while Ferguson’s good cross was headed goalwards by Harrison only for the keeper to save well.
The away team changed formation in the second half to try and get back into the game and although Moneyslane had some good possession in midfield, they rarely caused a goal threat and struggled to get the ball in wide areas to get crosses in.
It seemed a stalemate until the 62nd minute when Quinn challenged for the ball and gave away a penalty, which was converted well to make the score 1-1.
The home team had to regroup and responded well by upping the tempo. Boyd broke into the box and the keeper saved well. The pressure told on 75 minutes when a goalbound shot struck a defender’s arm and the referee immediately awarded a spot kick.
Harrison stepped up but his shot was saved well by the keeper. Brown came on for Ferguson and Downey came on for Ervine to push for a winner.
With 12 minutes to go, the winner arrived when Shilliday strode forward and drove the ball into the box and the alert Harrison fired first time superbly past the keeper from 14 yards.
A perfect end then to the first league game at Jubilee Park.
MONEYSLANE: Blevins, Steen, Boyd, Shilliday, Quinn, Gibson, Harrison, Whitten, Ervine, Quilty, Ferguson
Subs: Weir, Brown, Downey, Fairley.