Sunday 13th February 2005

07979 418 360

Ashford gain revenge

ASHFORD TOWN's reserves went into Saturday's game at Dartford looking for revenge as it was the Darts who brought Ashford's seven game winning streak to an abrupt end back in November, writes Stephen McCartney.

Ashford, unbeaten in 2005, had a full strength squad to choose from after last week's disappointing draw at Deal Town. 

This game pitted two former Tonbridge Angels coaches - Mike Robbins and Dartford's Bob Pittaway - against each other but as managers in their own right.

The game also saw Aiden Purseglove starting for the Darts after his transfer from Homelands back in December.

On one of the worse surfaces in the Kent League - at Crockenhill's Wested home - made even worse by torrential rain - it was Ashford who came out of the blocks fastest, and missed a couple of opportunities, notably from Long and Anthony Pace before against the run of play, Purseglove was put through with a long direct ball which eluded Nadjowski and Robinson, still with work to do, Purseglove hit an unstoppable drive past former Lordswood goalkeeper Jake Slade.

Ashford were to recover well, and deserved to equalise when Pace lobbed the 6'4"" goalkeeper James Tedder, only to see his effort somehow headed off the line by Darren Pearson.

Jason Long was also to prove a handful for the Dartford defence but after setting up Penfold first and then Pace he also went close from a header.

Just before half time, Slade pulled off a stunning save going down to his right.

“On another day we would have been going in at half time 3-1 up” Said Robbins.”  And If we keep playing the simple stuff the chances will come”

After only three minutes of the second half, Robbins had an enforced substitution and had to replace Jason Long with last weeks goalkeeper sub Andrew Wood.

Wood was to prove instrumental in much of Ashford's second half forward play and has surely given Robbins a selection headache with his constant probing runs.

The equaliser was to come from Terry Penfold on 65 minutes. Danny White won a crunching tackle on the left hand side and played in Matt Curnock, Matt found Terry Penfold who calmly ghosted past the right back to slide the ball home.

The game now opened up slightly and both sides went forward looking for what they believed would be the winner. After chances at both ends it was Dartford on 78 minutes, through substitute Steve O Keefe who got the breakthrough. Wood was caught out of position and Terry McCann was left with two players on the far post,
O' Keefe did well and bent the ball right footed past Slade high into the Ashford net.

Ashford responded to this by going forward and searching again for an equaliser.

After chances were missed by Wood and Pace, Ashford got their reward only minutes later when McCann, Clarke and Maxton combined to set Andy Wood up for a cross, Wood hit the ball with venom and it appeared to take a deflection on the way but the ball rocketed past Tedder into the Dartford net.

Ashford who were unlucky to be chasing the game were playing easily the best half of football that they had played this season and there was only going to be one winner after Woods' goal.

Ashford went searching for the third goal of the half, which would prove to be the winner. On 88 minutes the chance was to fall to Danny White, playing one of his best games to date for the club. After combining well down the left hand side, he found himself in space with a clear shot on goal. He struck the ball well, but somehow Terry Penfold got a toe on it to take it into the net, and  his personal tally to 5 goals in 5 games.

The comeback was complete and deserved, Ashford played some sublime football in the second half, and really were worth the points.

Robbins was delighted with his players performance in their 3-2 win and added: “ The guys had no right to try and play football on that pitch in that weather. Both sides teams averaged only 19 out there today and they put on a show that was a credit to the Kent League and their respective clubs.”

Ashford Town: Slade, McCann, White, Curnock, Nadjowski, Robinson, Pace, Clarke, Maxton, Penfold, Long (Wood 48) Subs: Jones,  Hearne,  VidlerHann