Tuesday 19th July 2005

Ashford return to action


Despite a traumatic summer for Ryman League division one club Ashford Town, their fans can now look forward to watching their team in action on Saturday when they travel to Kent League side Herne Bay for a pre-season friendly at Winch's Field, writes Stephen McCartney.

Having watched three pre-season matches myself, Paul Jones and Matt Bower have signed for Ryman Premier League neighbours Folkestone Invicta, Lee Blackman scored for Hythe Town in their 4-0 win at Bearsted last weekend, and Barry Gardner is on trial at Welling United, and was one of six substitutes that came on with fifteen minutes to go in their 1-1 draw against Charlton Athletic, whose two sides were full of Premiership quality.

Although the club are keeping quiet regarding players that have been training over the summer, the club's chief executive, Mark Jenner has revealed details of the rest of the teams at the club.

"A vacancy has arisen as reserve team manager as Mike Robins has resigned," he told the club's website.

"The club thank Mike for his valuable contribution in rebuilding the reserve squad and understands the reasons why he cannot continue.

"The club is committed to maintaining a strong reserve squad and we will announce a replacement shortly.

"It is expected that a number of last years players will feature in selection for this season's first team."

Elite Security will continue as reserve team sponsors and will continue their sponsorship of the Elite Bar at the Homelands.

Despite a poor season the club will again support an under 18 team in the Kent Youth League, which will be managed by Nigel Barlow.

"We are confident they will produce a strong squad and improved results, given greater support and the benefit of a sound start to the season and continuity of management, which was not the case last time," said Jenner.

They will be sponsored by Ashford Self Storage, and Jenner added: "We are extremely grateful for their generosity."

There will not be an under 16 side this season but instead Vince Shell will retain his highly-rated team from last season and compete at the under 15 level.

Games will be played on Sunday's at the Homelands.

Jenner said: "It is hoped that this promising squad can be kept together and progress through the age groups in future years."

A new under 14 squad is being formed and will continue to play at Tech Pro in the town and their manager will be announced shortly.