Ashland’s Simon Linsday heads the ball during a 1-0 victory over Klamath Union Saturday. Linsday scored the only goal of the game. - Jamie Lusch

Linsday leads Ashland over Klamath Union

ASHLAND — Ashland junior forward Simon Linsday could barely contain himself on the sideline.

The speedster, held out in the first half Saturday against Klamath Union after missing last Tuesday's match due to sickness, was the second-half spark Ashland (8-2-2, 6-1 SSC) needed in a key, 1-0 Southern Sky Conference victory over Klamath Union (4-2 SSC) at Ashland Middle School.

The triumph puts the Grizzlies one step closer to another conference championship.

"To be held back like that just enrages something in me," Linsday said. "You've got to let it out and I let it out. I don't regret what coach did, to be honest."

Linsday constantly kept the pressure on the Pelicans' defense with his speed. Just five minutes into the second half, he scored the only goal in the 45th minute when he drilled a deflected pass into the right side of the net.

"It's kind of funny because I had a bunch of those in practice where balls were coming right to me and I didn't hit them," Linsday said. "I seem to hit them in games. It was a beauty."

The victory bumps Ashland into sole possession of first place in the Southern Sky Conference. The two teams were tied for first entering Saturday's game, with KU holding the tiebreaker after a 3-2 shootout victory over Ashland on Oct. 2.

Ashland's last regular season game is against Crater on Tuesday. If the Comets defeat the Grizzlies, it could create a three-way tie for the league crown.

"It was a pretty big win," Linsday said. "Ashland, for the last five years, has won their conference, and it's never been this close. It was huge."

It was clear much was on the line Saturday.

The game turned very physical in the second half and emotions took over. There were 19 total penalties, including 12 on KU, which led to an ejection and two yellow cards for the Pelicans.

KU's Christian Pena had to be restrained from approaching the Ashland bench after receiving a yellow card in an ugly incident with 10:59 remaining in the second half, which halted the game for about four minutes.

The incident began when, in an already physical game, the Pelicans' Chris Rodriguez got tangled up with an Ashland player, who was knocked to the ground. Rodriguez appeared to attempt to kick the Ashland player before referees intervened and separated the two teams.

Rodriguez was given a red card and Pena was carded for pushing another Ashland player in the melee.

The regrettable scene shifted to the parking lot after the game, with a KU player and a fan exchanging words.

"It was very physical," Ashland coach Eisa Tiaa Tutu said. "With the rivalry of the two teams, sometimes you lose the momentum of your game and you start playing their game. We tried to put ourselves in position to play our game, not to overreact and go beyond that."

When action resumed, the Ashland defense thwarted the hurried KU attack to preserve the victory.

"The whole game was very physical," KU coach Mark Wendt said. "When we got the red card, we picked up our level of play even more. That actually gets us more in the game when things get going like that."

But the Pelicans had difficulty containing Linsday and the Ashland offense, which managed five shots on goal to just two for Klamath Union.

"He came in fresh and our guys were a little bit tired," Wendt said.

Linsday narrowly missed recording two assists and had multiple breakaway opportunities.

"We just kept him out (in the first half) to see how he was doing," Tiaa Tutu said. "Then when we bring him in, he can see all the avenues and what the other team was giving us. Simon, if he's more focused, he will score more goals."

Reach reporter Luke Andrews at 776-4469, or e-mail

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