MK Irish’s good form continued after a five-star first half performance saw Terry Shrieves’ side claim a dominant victory on the road.
Mason Spence grabbed four goals in the opening 45 minutes, including two wonderful volleyed finishes as he scored a fantastic hat-trick. A header from Jack Clarkson was sandwiched in between Spence’s strikes, as Irish wrapped up the points early on.
The second half had a different story to it as London Tigers came out fighting whilst Irish seemed to struggle after making three changes in quick succession. The home side got themselves on the scoresheet after a defensive mix up before Ollie Coleman rounded off the scoring with his first league goal to make it 6-1.
Irish started on the front foot and it didn’t take long for the difference between the sides’ start to the season to be highlighted. An early corner whipped in by Macdonald found Spence, who’s powerful header thundered off the bar and into the net to make it 1-0 after less than five minutes.
With confidence flowing through MK Irish veins after getting an early lead and matching that with the recent good run of form, the visitors pressed on and it wasn’t long before the advantage was extended.
Liam Smyth delivered well from a deep free kick on the right, finding Jack Clarkson who beat his man in the air and headed home to make it 2-0 before 15 minutes had been played.
The early stages had been all Irish and Terry Shrieves’ side were clearly looking to put the result beyond any doubt as soon as possible.
After what had been a blistering start it was 15 minutes before Irish notched again, as Spence grabbed his second goal of the game following a brilliant move. A quick one-two saw right-back Nat Beecher in space to whip in a cross towards Spence, and the attacker made no mistake as he met the ball first time on the volley, beating the keeper and making it 3-0.
The three points were now near enough secured, but MK Irish, Spence in particular, were far from finished. Another goal to claim a first half hat-trick wasn’t enough for Irish’s top scorer, who scored two in quick succession before the break to put his side 5-0 up. Top scorer Spence’s hat-trick goal was nothing short of magnificent and he’ll do better to score another goal all season, receiving the ball on his chest before spinning and firing a volley past the London Tigers goalkeeper.
And rounding off the first half scoring was Spence again for his fourth of the afternoon, collecting the ball on the edge of the box after some good work from Shrieves down the left, before powering a low, first time drive past the keeper and into the bottom corner.
An on-pitch dressing down from the London Tigers’ manager at half-time lead to the home side coming out stronger, and the early stages of the second half presented a much more even affair.
The first chance for the visitors in the second half inevitably fell to Spence, who was unlucky not to grab his fifth of the afternoon after going one-on-one with the Tigers keeper and seeing his shot blocked well.
With a commanding lead under their belts, Irish manager Terry Shrieves took the chance to rest some legs early on and made a triple change just before the hour mark. Keelan Shand, Robert Macdonald and Jack Clarkson were replaced by Ryan Coyle, Ollie Coleman and Demarlo Smith.
At 5-0 the last thing Terry Shrieves would’ve wanted to see was complacency slipping into his sides game, which seemed to creeping in as the home side got themselves on the scoresheet out of nothing. A long ball forward caused confusion in the Irish defence, as the ball fell kindly for a Tigers attacker to convert from close range.
Luckily that seemed to kick MK Irish back into gear and after Spence isolated his defender down the right hand side he found space to drill the ball across the face of goal, where Coleman had drifted away from his man and was waiting to touch home and make it 6-1 – the youngster’s first league goal for the club.
Next to come close was George Shrieves, who struck well from a 25 yard free kick, seeing his effort crash off the top of the bar and behind.
The final stages of the game passed with one more chance for Spence, who did well to dribble past his defender, leaving him on the floor before flashing a shot just wide.