I think the pressure’s all on Ashford now, it’s there’s to lose, says Crowborough Athletic keeper Dan Ellis
CROWBOROUGH ATHLETIC goalkeeper Dan Ellis believes the pressure is all on Ashford United after his club lost the top-of-the-table showdown yesterday.
The Crows went down to a 3-1 defeat at Homelands Stadium, which was their first league away defeat of the season and puts them three points behind Ashford United going into the last month of the season.
Both sides went into the game locked on 74 points, although Crowborough Athletic do have a game in hand, but Ashford now have a 12-goal advantage on the Crows after the game.
Crowborough Athletic got off to a flying start when Ross Treleaven drilled a shot into the bottom right-hand corner after 20 minutes.
But winger Rory Hill, 27, went on to score his third career hat-trick to send Ashford United three points clear at the top of the table and puts Danny Lye’s men on course of claiming the league title.
“I don’t think we were good enough,” admitted Ellis after the game.
“I think we bossed it first 20 minutes, let them get a foot hold back in the game and then from then on it was all them.
“The better team won at the end of the day, I think the better team won.”
Ellis revealed that he studied Shaun Welford’s penalties on video and made a 65th minute penalty save to keep the score level at 1-1, but Crowborough Athletic offered very little in attack during the second half.
Scott Porter’s Whitstable Town have a major say in who wins the league title. The Oystermen are in the top five in Porter’s first season in charge at Belmont Road and they host Ashford United on Tuesday night and then host Crowborough Athletic seven days later.
“I think there’s still a long way to go. I think the pressure’s all on Ashford now, it’s there’s to lose,” said Ellis.
“Looking at their games they’ve got a couple of tough games coming up.
“Likewise, with us, we’ve got four teams scrapping down there at the bottom. We’ve got six games and they’ve got seven (including the Kent Reliance Senior Trophy Final against Cray Valley on Sunday 9 April). There’s still a lot to play for, definitely, and I wouldn’t write us out of it just yet.”
Crowborough Athletic host an Erith & Belvedere side sitting in the bottom four next Saturday, before playing more struggling sides in the shape of Lordswood, Fisher and Beckenham Town before travelling to Ellis’ former club, Hollands & Blair on the final day of the season.
“The boys are gutted, absolutely gutted. We know we didn’t work hard enough, we didn’t battle enough for each other in the second half and ultimately didn’t deserve to win the game,” admitted Ellis.
“Erith & Belvedere are struggling at the bottom of the league so they’re going to be looking at this result and think they can come over and turn us over. Hopefully we can prove them wrong and get a few goals and get a win.”
Going by Crowborough’s signings, they expected to walk through the League – but Ellis knows that the artist formerly known as the Kent League is a tough League to get out of.
“I think it’s the strongest this league has been,” said Ellis.
“I was at Blair last season and we had three or four teams at the top doing really, really well and they were guaranteed wins every week but this season you can play anyone and lose.
“I think the standard’s so good this season. There’s a couple of teams at the bottom who I don’t think deserve to be there but that shows how good the league is, you just don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Porter will not let his side lay down and die and Whitstable Town have a major say on who will win the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division title this month.
Ellis said: “They’ve got a big, big say. They came to our place and had three red cards so that will be a tough game for both teams. Ashford have still got Canterbury to play and they’re the form side in the league, aren’t they?
“I still think there’s a lot to play for. I think it’s well too early to say it’s settled. There will be a little bonus for me if we can win it on the last game of the season because it’s my old club. That will be a massive bonus but I think if we’d have won today it would’ve gone a long way of us sealing it up.
“We’ve still got a game in hand. We can go level on points. They draw a game, we win a game we’re back on top so I think it’s all to play for and the boys will work hard and we’ll give it our all.”
Visit Crowborough Athletic’s website: www.pitchero.com/clubs/crowboroughathletic