MK Irish got back on track following Saturday’s draw against Stansted with a hard fought 2-0 victory at home to Arlesey Town.
Substitue Mason Spence opened the scoring with half an hour to go, latching on to Ryan Smith’s low cross and converting into the bottom right corner after it had started to look like Irish couldn’t break their opponents down.
George Shrieves then wrapped things up late on, nicking the ball of an Arlesey Town defender and running clear through on goal from the halfway before keeping his composure and tucking home to seal the three points.
Irish’s first effort on goal came from George Shrieves after ten minutes, who did brilliantly to evade a couple of Arlesey challenges on the right, wriggling free and shooting towards the near post where the keeper parried away.
The home side settled into the game well but chances in the first half were hard to come by as the deep sitting Arlesey defence limited Irish to shots from distance.
Ty Ward so nearly broke the deadlock in spectacular fashion, firing a powerful strike towards goal from 30 yards out that needed tipping over the bar.
The final chance of a very quiet half came as Ryan Smith forced a diving save from the visitor’s keeper. After doing well to keep the ball under heavy pressure in the middle of the park, he found himself 25 yards out and on his left foot but couldn’t find the corner of the net.
It was much more of the same in the early stages of the second half, and as time ticked on it started to looked as if Irish would struggle to break through the Arlesey defence.
Mason Spence, sporting a second new pair of Umbros for the season, was brought on to replace JJ Meadows with half an hour to go – and it turned out to be a crucial change.
After being on the pitch for just over five minutes, Spence was found breaking into the box by Ryan Smith’s low cross, rushing onto the ball and converting powerfully into the bottom right corner to make it 1-0.
The game was almost wrapped up just a couple of minutes later and it was Spence again. Ty Ward’s clipped free kick in from the left found the goalscorer in space, but his volleyed effort went just wide of the near post.
Now a goal down with the end of the game approaching, Arlesey stepped out from their deep block and started applying pressure.
They couldn’t create any clear cut chances however and the only heart in mouth moment for Irish came as an Arlesey attacker went down in the box – a blatant dive that the referee rightly waved play on for, with the player very lucky to escape a booking.
Deep into injury time, the three points were secured.
With Arlesey high up the pitch looking for an equaliser, one of their centre backs was caught on the ball on the halfway line by Shrieves who was now racing clear.
It was clear the defender thought about bringing him down and had a slight tug at him before thinking better of it, avoiding a certain red card but watching Shrieves tuck it home for 2-0.