The Battle for the North – Ashfield FC – 05/11/2022


It’s been a couple of weeks since my last venture to an unfamiliar ground. A mixture of season ticket duties, social visits and university placements has meant it has been difficult to organise a visit anywhere other than Easter Road. However, on a strangely mild November afternoon, normal service resumed.

Today’s trip takes me back to the north of Glasgow, where Ashfield Football Club lie in wait. The area plays host to plenty of clubs in short proximity. I was genuinely baffled to realise Glasgow Perthshire play a stone’s throw away from my destination today; to the point where you could hear the cheers and shouts as goals flew in from the stands at Ashfield.  I had already taken in atmospheres at St Rochs and Glasgow United , and it is clear just how important community clubs are in this part of the city.

The Field interest me for a few reasons. The first is that they one of the oldest ‘Junior’ clubs in the country having been formed as early as 1886. Plenty of history envelops the club, particularly with their mountain of success in the Scottish Junior Cup in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The second comes in the form of the club’s home; Saracen Park (Peugeot Ashfield Stadium for sponsorship reasons). Ashfield have played in this hallowed ground for close to ninety-years but have shared their home with speedway team Glasgow Tigers since 1999. Speedway has not been uncommon at Saracen Park though, with the Ashfield Giants calling the stadium their home from 1949-1953. It is certainly a strange experience, but more on that later…

As mentioned, Ashfield were one of the major early players in the Scottish Junior scene. Four Scottish Junior Cups wins, six Glasgow Junior Leagues (including five in a row) and a ridiculous number of Glasgow Junior Cups line Ashfield’s trophy cabinet with pride. With a huge number of other, smaller league and cup wins it is no wonder the club hold the illustrious title of being the first junior club to win 100 trophies. Impressive.

Despite Possilpark being a popular venue for a trophy parade in the early 1900s, success has somewhat dried up. The club have not won a piece of silverware since an Evening Times Cup win in 2012 and a West Superleague First Division title in 2011.

Since their switch to the senior pyramid, the club will be hoping that changes pronto. Ashfield currently ply their trade in the West of Scotland Second Division and look to be finding their feet well in their new surroundings. They sit four points behind early leaders Renfrew before start of play and will be hoping to achieve promotion to the First Division at the first time of asking. The way they’re going, it looks as though they’ll have a strong case of doing just that.


Right, here we go. I’ve read a lot about Ashfield’s home in the last few years and have seen a few photographs here and there but have always wished to reserve any judgement until physically entering the arena myself.

Firstly, I will say that I genuinely really like the aesthetics of the grandstand. Its old, rickety wooden look is mixed with newer, more modern seating, merchandise, and facilities. I really like the propped-up view you get no matter where you sit in the stand. It is possible to get a tremendous sighting of the whole pitch at a good, elevated position. It is clear that this place holds a million memories for the club, and you can feel this when in the environment.

However, it is also clear that The Peugeot Ashfield Stadium is catered far more to the speedway side than the football. The track totally eclipses the pitch, so much so that it is possibly one of the narrowest playing surfaces I’ve ever seen. I remember playing on one similar at boy’s club level in Wallyford, East Lothian. Luckily, it didn’t much effect the standard of play from either side, but you’d be lucky to get any use of wingers on this park. It reminds me an awful lot of Cowdenbeath’s Central Park which also plays host to a stock-car track. Having had a wee walk around the track and onto the far terracing, I passed garages, tractors, and speedway specific equipment. It feels as though the football is an afterthought, and that’s a shame. I suppose the second tier of British Speedway trumps the eighth tier of Scottish football. I feel a score of 2/5 is fair all elements considered.


A decent number of supporters from both sides turned up for today’s North Glasgow Derby, sitting on opposite sides of the grandstand. It was good to see a good number of away fans travel the short distance cladded in Maryhill jackets and hats to take in an away day. Even with plenty of bodies, noise remained limited, perhaps also due to the distance from the pitch to the grandstand. Everyone associated the club I interacted to was very welcoming and kind. The guys at the gate and the tea/coffee stand were excellent with service and decent patter. With Celtic at home a short distance away, it was good to see a good number show up for their local clubs, and that in mind I feel a 2.5/5 is fair.

Quality of the Match

Ashfield kicked the contest off as favourites, flying high in second place with only one defeat. This is all the more true with visitors Maryhill languishing at the bottom of the table. However, it was The Hill that mustered the first real opportunity of the game. A deep free kick to the back stick saw Fraser Lee’s header go over the crossbar. As the big centre-half was free, he perhaps should have done better with his effort.

It didn’t take Ashfield long to respond. After a first corner of the match was cleared, left-footed forward Craig Young turned his man on the far-side and fired a cross-come-shot towards goal. Young Maryhill ‘keeper Ross Goldie was alert to divert the ball over for another corner.

Goldie would be busy again soon after. A low free kick by veteran Bobby Barr somehow made it all the way through a wall of bodies, forcing the ‘keeper to parry the ball away with no takers for a rebound.

Maryhill broke up the park immediately and almost took the lead as a result. Some good play saw the ball break for midfielder Robbie Manley, whose strike from the edge of the box left Ashfield stopper Chris Calder stranded. He’d be counting his lucky stars though, as the ball flew just over his crossbar.

Ashfield took the warning and grasped the game by the scruff of the neck. A long ball forward aimed towards Jonny Black was taken down well by the striker, before a wonderfully lobbed effort from the corner of the box landed in the bottom corner. A well taken goal from a guy who has forged a habit of hitting the net this season. Advantage to the hosts.

Maryhill were not deterred and continued to play the ball forward. They were certainly unlucky not to equalise after some excellent build up play. Some fantastic close ball control and passing at the edge of the Ashfield box saw the ball rolled out to Shaun Roberts, whose first-time strike kissed the near post before heading behind.

Robbie Manley went close again and will be disappointed not to have scored. After Ashfield had originally done well to play the ball out from the back, the ball was nipped and gathered by Manley whose free hit from the edge was comfortably parried by a frustrated Calder.

Jordan Hood would be the next Maryhill player to test the Ashfield goal. More excellent play saw the forward through on the left-hand side. From a tight angle, his low shot was comfortably blocked by the feet of Chris Calder. Maryhill were certainly not playing like a side propping up the table. They’ll have been disappointed not to head into the break at least level.

Half Time: Ashfield 1-0 Maryhill

Some harsh words must have been said in the home dressing room, as the hosts came flying out the traps in the second period. A sensational save by Goldie in the Maryhill goal denying Ashfield from doubling their lead.

They would not be denied for much longer though. A great switch of play to forward Jonny Black saw him burst into the ‘Hill box before cutting back for strike partner Fraser Sheridan, who did well to beat the uneven pitch and bobble his strike into the net, with Goldie grasping at thin air. 2-0 Ashfield.

The hosts were playing with far more fluidity and freedom, with their midfield taking control of the engine room. They should have been three-up halfway through the half as a ball to Craig Young was flicked onto Jonny Black. Black’s strike was saved well by Goldie, with Sheridan’s rebound flying over the bar from twelve yards.

They did not stop though. Ashfield remained relentless in attack and got their just-deserves soon after. A superb ball through for Bobby Barr saw the forward one-on-one with Goldie. The former Livingston, Morton and Raith Rovers forward showed his class to lob the stranded goalkeeper to put the icing on the cake for Ashfield.

Maryhill did have an opportunity to pull a goal back ten minutes from time. A rare venture into the home box saw an attempted cross come off the arm of an Ashfield defender. It looked a stonewaller from my angle given the new handball rules. Jordan Hood stood up to take the spot-kick, only for it to be saved well by Chris Calder, who looked absolutely delighted to keep his clean sheet. The event summed up the visitor’s afternoon.

Full Time: Ashfield 3-0 Maryhill

Ashfield will be grateful to have ridden the wave of Maryhill attacks in the first half to achieve this win. They took their chances well and took control of the contest in the second half. Bobby Barr impressed this afternoon and showed his quality going forward. He may be thirty-four years old, but he has plenty of offer Ashfield this season and beyond. Goalkeeper Chris Calder had a superb game for the hosts. He saved his side a few times in the first half with important blocks; rounding his performance off in style by saving a penalty. A shout-out must also go out to captain Colin Leverage, who played his 100th match for The Field. If he and his team play as they did in the second half, I’m sure they’ll be finishing at the top end of the table this season.

Maryhill will be naturally gutted to head away with nothing today. They were perhaps the better side in the first forty-five and should have had at least a goal to their name heading into the break. They unfortunately could not keep up in the second half and lost control of the midfield battle. They’ll be disappointed to have lost an important derby match, but they’re a good team with a strong squad. I know first hand how resilient they can be, having seen them come from two-goals down to beat Glasgow University. If they play like both they and I know they can, they’ll be absolutely fine.

All in all, I was treated to three excellent goals, a topsy-turvy match and some excellent individual performances. I feel today’s encounter deserves a good 3.5/5.


For this visit to a West of Scotland Second Division encounter, I paid a measly £5 entry fee and a further quid for a coffee. Most clubs at this level charge at least £7, so fair play to Ashfield for offering an experience this cheap. In times like these, I can guarantee it is appreciated by many. 5/5.

Final Score

Ashfield finish the day with a respectable score of 13/20. I enjoyed experiencing the Peugeot Ashfield Stadium for the first time, and it is certainly one I will not forget in a hurry. It is certainly a unique venue and has played an important role in this quality club’s history. I’m sure I’ll be back again soon.

– Connor

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