Friday 30th September 2005

Ashford love the green, green grass of Homelands

After losing their first seven Ryman League Division One games of the season, Ashford Town are beginning their climb up the table, having collected five points from their last three games, writes Stephen McCartney.

Since they lost 3-1 at Kent rivals Tonbridge Angels, the Nuts & Bolts have beaten Kingstonian (2-1) and have drawn matches against Walton Casuals (1-1) and Horsham (3-3).

And with their next two games being at home - against Tooting & Mitcham United on Saturday, and Corinthian Casuals next Tuesday, joint-manager John Cumberbatch, explained the playing surface at Homelands is helping them.

He told www.ashfordtownfc.co.uk :  "It is important that I mention our groundsman and staff and the condition of the pitch.

"He's had to work under very difficult circumstances, having been unable to gain access to the pitch during a crucial part of the close season.

"It is to his credit and due to his very hard and dedicated work that the pitch is in such good condition.

"We are grateful that he approaches his work with such commitment and endeavour. Do not underestimate the importance of this.

"Due to the weather and the disruption in the summer, Colin has had to leave the grass a little longer in length than would be desired in order, amongst other reasons, to give it time to strengthen.

"He has only just lately been able to cut it down to a shorter length. It is no coincidence that as the grass gets shorter, a player such as Soly (Sol Henry) is beginning to have more success at twisting and turning past defenders and leaving them in knots.

"Earlier in the season he was finding that the ball would not travel along as fast as he required when using his dribbling skills. The work that Colin does with the pitch has much input in any success that we have. We are not a big side that plays long balls up in the air. We need quick ball movement on grass."

Meanwhile, due to work commitments, goalkeeper Jani Seitsonen has decided to leave the club.

The former Erith & Belvedere stopper was under pressure from the management team  to get himself fitter, having missed part of pre season training.

"Jani himself is a dedicated player and realised that he needed to increase his sharpness and overall fitness levels," added Cumberbatch.

"He has a very demanding job and was not able to satisfy himself that he would be able to put in the training time required to increase his performances.

"Jani came to the club at a critical time last season when we needed an experienced goalkeeper at extremely short notice with John Whitehouse having suffered an injury, during a time when every point was crucial and time was fast running out.

"Although I feel many fans were not fond of him, I know that he played a significant part in keeping this club in this division and publicly thank him for that."

Ashford Town v Tooting & Mitcham United
Ryman League Division One
Saturday 1st October 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm
at The Homelands, Ashford Road, Kingsnorth