East Midlands Public
Ardley Athletic 1
Priory Celtic 6
Priory Celtic’s new senior side enjoyed a flying start to the new season as they recorded a 6-1 win at Ardley Athletic.
Danny Staley’s squad, full of former Priory junior players, swept one of the league’s most established teams to one side and earned a fine away success.
The visitors created plenty of early opportunities and it was fitting that Priory’s longest serving player and club stalwart of 12 years, Josh Stevenson, gave Priory their 1st ever EMPAL goal.
A fine run from the middle of midfield saw him take on three players before leaving the Ardley keeper with no chance as he blasted Priory ahead.
The Priory front men were causing Ardley all sorts of problems as Callum Marks in the Priory goal didn’t have a touch in the first half.
The Priory centre half duo of Chetwynd and Carlile looked composed and steady as any Ardley attacks were well dealt with.
Stevenson added Priory’s second with a superb effort from 30 yards, and Greg Wedge quickly added the third after a mistake at the back.
Allen, Draper and Wedge all had chances to score for Priory before the break but it was 3-0 at half-time.
Priory kept the pressure on at a high tempo in the second-half and the hard work was rewarded as a good run from Nick West on the left hand side saw him fire past the keeper to make it four.
Priory had a good penalty appeal turned down as Stevenson was brought down in the box, before Wedge and West both had great chances to score but a combination of good goalkeeping and defensive work denied them.
Good work from Harris and Draper on the right hand side then split the Ardley defence as Draper pulled the ball back to Wedge who slotted home the fifth from close range.
The home side pulled a consolation goal back as they broke the offside trap to slot past Marks, who overall had very little to do.
Priory replaced the injured Mallet with veteran John Harris with five minutes to go, and his first touch created an opportunity for Priory to score their sixth however his shot was agonisingly tipped round the post.
But from the resulting corner Stevenson completed his hat-trick with a stunning header from the penalty spot that gave Priory their sixth and rounded off the win.