We're strong enough to get out of relegation battle, insists Ross

Sunday 08th January 2006


Ashford Town full-back Ian Ross made his 200th appearance for his home-town club on Saturday, but admitted Metropolitan Police’s injury time winner was a “sucker punch” to take, writes Stephen McCartney.

The 29-year-old, whose scored 15 goals for The Homelands outfit, set up the opening goal after 22 minutes when his left-footed corner was met by Mark Banks, who came up from his central defensive position, to head home his first goal of the season.



However, it took Metropolitan Police just two minutes to equalise, when Leon Johnson’s cross-come-shot from the left eluded goalkeeper Sean Glover and curled into the roof of the net.


Glover made amends with fifteen minutes to go, however, diving to his left to push Kevin Cooper’s penalty around the post, after right-back Jamie Smith was sent off – for his second bookable offence – for bringing Cooper down in the box.


Ashford tried in vain to hold onto a hard fought point, but slack defending and goalkeeping 132 seconds into stoppage time, allowed Cooper to fire home the winner.


“I think we gave it our all,” admitted Ross in an EXCLUSIVE interview with www.kentishfootball.co.uk, after Ashford’s 15th league defeat of the season kept them in the bottom four and only three points adrift off the foot of the Ryman League Division One table.


“We lost a man with 15 minutes to go, backs to the wall and hit with the sucker-punch – I’m just disappointed to be honest with you,” he added.


“It’s very hard out there.  We’ve defended for 90 minutes, got ourselves in front after a good cross from myself.  


“They’ve hit us with a cross-come-shot that’s gone in, which is a bit of a sucker-punch - but we had chances to win the game.”

Ross, however, blamed 22-year-old goalkeeper Sean Glover for Metropolitan Police’s late winner, and admitted living in Ashford and seeing his home-town club struggling is hard to take.


“Shaggy made a great save to keep the penalty out but on another day he’ll probably come out and cleared that one away,” he said.


“It’s very difficult as I see it first hand.  There’s been lots of games where we’ve been on top where we just haven’t finished teams off, putting our chances away.


“When we played Dover it showed in the first half how we can play and we got our three goals, which we fully deserved.


“Today and other games we’ve been the better side by far but we haven’t been able to convert our chances into goals and today we’ve got one goal.  Maybe we can go and get two goals and then the confidence comes and we can go on a run.


“It has been difficult living in Ashford but we’ll get keep our heads high and we go again Saturday.”

Ashford, who will be training on twice this week, travel to Whyteleafe on Saturday – the beginning off a good run to get the club out of relegation trouble?

”Another tough game,” predicted the skipper.  “They’re a strong team but we’ll just go again.  The boys are a bit down at the moment because of the result but when Saturday comes you’ll see a vast improvement.


“Team’s know we are not a soft touch now and we’ll push on and get the results and start moving up the table.


“The boys are up for it as we’re training twice a week.  We know it’s a dog-fight and we know where we are in the league and we’ve got a lot of hard work in front of us.


“But collectively as players we know we are much better than the position shows.”

After beating Kent rivals Dover Athletic 3-2 – after leading 3-0 at the interval – Ross asks for more support from the club’s long-suffering faithful.

Only 157 turned up for their last game, after Dover’s visit drew 691 to the Homelands.

”We want to give something for the fans and hopefully get some more fans back,” said Ross.  “We need them on our side and beating Dover was a great result for them.  But today we could and should have won.”

Ross was “sickened” when Metropolitan Police netted the winner inside stoppage time and added: “At the end of the day they pushed everything forward as we were down to ten men.

”We defended everything until that injury time sickener. I think we’re strong enough that we’ll get the results to get us out of the relegation battle.”


Speaking about Ross, John Cumberbatch, the club’s joint-manager said: “I think it’s tremendous when you’ve got a player like that who plays that many games for a side.

”Ian had a very difficult time at the beginning of the season because he didn’t walk straight into the team.


“When he started playing he wasn’t playing particularly well but he’s dug in, worked hard and his games have got more and more stable and I think he’s done really well.”


Another lucrative crowd is expected in their next home game when promotion chasing Kent rivals Tonbridge Angels visit The Homelands on Saturday, 21st January.

Whyteleafe v Ashford Town
Ryman League Division One
Saturday 14th January 2006
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Church Road, Whyteleafe, Surrey CR3 0AR