Thursday 22nd September 2005

Reserves knocking on Cumberbatch's door


Ashford Town climbed off the foot of the Ryman League Division One table with a battling 2-1 win over Kingstonian on Tuesday night, writes Stephen McCartney.

But their reserve side, that have started their season brightly, are extremely disappointed by the cancellation of their Kentish Observer League reserve division cup tie at Erith Town on Saturday.

Currently sat in second place in the division one table, the young Ashford side were due to travel to the Erith Sports Stadium to tackle leaders Erith Town, but this has put a spanner in the works for manager Mike Robbins.

In an EXCLUSIVE interview with www.kentishfootball.co.uk the reserve team manager said: "Our preparations for this game, as usual were superb.

"We wanted this game played to test ourselves against the only 100% side in the division.

"We also want this game played on the Saturday, so that we do not lose our step, playing on a weeknight will certainly disadvantage us.

"Our season has started very well, and to be fair, we have clicked but only in spurts."

Ashford have also picked up a couple of players, Barry Crawford from Scotland, and Chris Petts, who is an Ashford lad along with Billy Rice.  Terry Hawkey has also joined the Homelands club, from Danson Furness.

Robbins, however, is happy that five players that have played for him in the reserves finished the first team's win over Kingstonian on Tuesday night - their first points of the current campaign at the sixth attempt and puts them above Bashley, Banstead Athletic and Burgess Hill Town in the Ryman League division one table.

"It was great to see no less than five players who have played for the reserves finish on the pitch for the first team, in their win against Kingstonian on Tuesday night," said a proud Robbins.

Of the five, Terry McCann was Robbins' skipper last season, consistently impressing and leading the side, and has stepped into the first team boots and doesn't looked phased at all.

Aiden Pursglove, has also impressed and couple have a long run ahead of him within John Cumberbatch and Tim Thorogood's first team squad.

With so many players being promoted into the first team squad, this gives Robbins' fringe players a chance to impress.

"To be fair, the relationship that we have between the two sets of management here is very healthy," revealed Robbins.

"I am in constant contact with John (Cumberbatch) so the transition from reserves to first team is done at the right time for the players' own development.

"We are also all training together, which shows players the standard that is the first team, and also gives added competition.

"I do believe that we have the best crop of reserves that have been at the club, but they are not all ready for the big stage yet," admitted Robbins.

"Give them another six weeks, and I believe that a few more will be not only be able to make the jump, but they will be physically and mentally be prepared to give a good account for themselves."

Because of the cup cancellation, Robbins' plans have been disrupted.  The players will enjoy extra fitness sessions tonight, which includes a swimming pool session and will train on Saturday and have a friendly against the Army in Chatham next Tuesday. 

This will give the side a spare Saturday, and Robbins is looking for an away fixture for his side on 1st October.  Anyone interested, please contact him on 07970 142 477, and please mention you read the article on www.kentishfootball.co.uk

Ashford Town v Walton Casuals
Ryman League Division One
Saturday 24th September 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm
at The Homelands, Ashford Road, Kingsnorth