Saturday 16th October 2004

The Kent Website
Supporting Kentish Football

Disciplined Ashford enjoy reserve cup joy

SUCH was the strength of the Ashford Town reserve team squad taken to VCD Athletic for a first round Kent Intermediate Cup tie on Saturday, Jefferies, Noble, Hutton and Jones didn't make it onto the teamsheet, writes Stephen McCartney.

Preparation for the game was disrupted, by traffic around Crayford and a small matter of a delayed plane from Toulouse , that the Ashford goalkeeper Karl Leveille was aboard.

Ashford Town, going into this game off the back of  6-1(Hastings) and 4-1(Army X1), were always going to be dangerous.

The first chance of the game fell to Cunningham, starting the game again after his Hastings hat-trick, but he failed to connect. In the opening exchanges, both sided went close, but neither really threatened.

Ashford took control of the game on 10 minutes with a smart finish inside the box from Jason Long.

Storey went closest for VCD but the French keeper Levielle was more than equal to the task.

Ashford found themselves under pressure during the mid phase of the game, when first White and then Joff Thorogood gave away free kicks in dangerous areas.

Barry Cunningham wrapped up the first half by scoring from about 15 yards to take his tally to 4 goals in the last 2 games.

The second half started with two changes, Day for Aldridge and Blackman for Cunningham.

Practically straight from the Kick off, Ashford, playing with the slope backed VCD into there own half.

Long made it 3-0 on the hour after a superb touch took the ball past the keeper and left him with a simple tap in.

From there it was one way traffic, VCD waiting for the whistle and Ashford keeping the ball and probing at the VCD defence.

VCD did have one effort from long range, but Leveille pulled off a stunning save to protect the clean sheet that had eluded Ashford so far this season.

Blackman rounded the keeper for the fourth on 78 minutes, and in the move of the match Man of the Match  Gary Clarke finished a 6 man, 15 pass move with a low effort driven low into the bottom corner of the net to make it 5 in the 85th minute.

"To be fair, we have played better than this and lost, and we have also lost to worse teams than VCD this season, so it does show that we are making progress, said Ashford boss Mike Robbins.

"Scoring five is always nice but keeping a clean sheet shows we are disciplined at both ends."

With injuries to Pursglove and Curnock , Wills away with the school and Reserve skipper Ollie Finch only making the bench there will selection problems of a good nature on the horizon when Ashford travel to Herne Bay next week.

Elite security Man of the Match: Gary Clarke

Ashford Town: Leveille, Aldridge (Day 45), White , Clarke, Robinson, Nadjowski, Poyner (Wood 65), McCann, Cunningham (Blackman 45), Joff Thorogood, Long Subs: Hunswick, Finch