WEST JEFFERSON — Ashe County snapped a two-game losing skid, but may have to play without two key players after an altercation broke out in the closing minutes of the match.
With 11 minutes left in the game, a shoving match between a pair of players turned into a brief on-field fight between Ashe and East Wilkes Thursday night.
Both teams had two players red-carded and the game was stopped at that point with Ashe earning a 2-0 victory.
According to Ashe County head coach Wes Rousseau, the two Ashe players that were carded were Erick Barcenas and Dylan Little. Both players could be facing a four-game suspension. With only three regular season matches left, that would mean both players would miss the team’s first round playoff game.
As for the match, Ashe got a much-needed win after losing back-to-back conference matches. Ashe lost at Starmount, 3-2, and then lost a heartbreaker at home to Wilkes Central on penalty kicks.
Early on, the Cardinal defense was up to the task, turning the Huskies away on two corner kicks and two shots inside the box from leading scorer Victor Melo.
Barcenas finally came through for Ashe with a goal just 13 seconds before the end of the first half.
In the second half, Shawn McKiddy almost gave Ashe a 2-0 lead in the 52nd minute, but his shot just sailed high of the crossbar.
Four minutes later, Melo saw his shot get stopped and then a rebound attempt get cleared away.
In the 68th minute, Melo was fouled inside the box on a corner kick attempt, resulting in a penalty kick for the Huskies. Senior Kendall Wagner took the kick and buried it in the top right corner, giving Ashe a 2-0 lead.
On Ashe’s next possession on the East Wilkes side of the field, tempers flared, causing the altercation. Officials called the game at that point.
The Huskies improved to 12-6 overall and 9-3 in the MVAC.
East Wilkes is 5-11 overall and 5-7 in MVAC play.
Lost in all of the on-field events, Ashe County recognized its 13 seniors prior to the contest.
Ashe has three matches left in the regular season, all on the road. Ashe goes to North Wilkes (Monday), West Wilkes (Tuesday) and Mitchell County (Wednesday).
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-846-7164 or followed on Twitter @NathanHam87