Thursday 18th November 2004

The Kent Website
Supporting Kentish Football

Ashford bolster reserve squad

WITH their first team stuck at the wrong end of the Ryman League Division One table, Ashford Town's second string are enjoying happier times, writes Stephen McCartney.

Currently second in the Go Travel Kent League division one table, the Homelands club are six points adrift of league leaders Maidstone United, having played a game more.

With former Tottenham star Terry Fenwick in charge at first team level, it seems easier attracting quality players to the club.

Reserve team manager Mike Robbins was quick to sign some new faces after he felt his team was looking jaded.

"We needed some new faces to push not only my lot, but the first team too," he said.

The new signings were John Whittaker - a Royal Engineer and bullish striker signed from Gravesend side Merseans FC.

Former Gravesend & Northfleet striker Noddy Penfold and former Raith Rovers midfielder Ross Venables bolster the squad.

Robbins added: "These lads all have exceptional talent, but are lacking match practice.

"But they are all honest players and will give everything they have for Ashford."

With Andrew Wood starting his first game of the season, Cray's second string opened the scoring after only 45 seconds.

However, a second minute substitution, Matt Curnock was replaced by former Wimbledon youth team player Jim Day, and this gave Ashford the impetus they needed, camping themselves in the Cray half throughout the first half.

The breakthrough came ten minutes before the interval.  Day picked up the ball just inside the Cray half, ghosted through beating the entire Cray defence, although Whittaker tapped in to score on his debut.

Within a minute, however, they went 2-1 up.  Whittaker raced through onto a through ball from Venables to smash the ball in off the post from thirty yards.

Ashford wrapped up the away victory after 71 minutes when top scorer Jason Long netted his seventh goal of the season, after dummying to shoot with his right foot, he calmly laid it onto his left, watched the Cray defender slide past and unleashed an unstoppable drive.

Ashford now look forward to a top of the table clash at Maidstone on Saturday and assistant manager Martin Larkin added: "This is a chance to gain revenge for the 3-1 home defeat in August."