Monday 19th September 2005

Ashford fans turn out to watch in-form reserves

Ashford Town Reserves, who have started the season brightly, opened their home account with a win at a canter with a comfortable 2-0 win over Deal Town in the Kentish Observer League first division on Saturday, writes Stephen McCartney.

Starting the season, taking four points from 6 on their travels the young side were prepared superbly both mentally and physically for the visit of Deal – and it showed as Ashford raced into a two goal lead within only eight minutes.

The Greens, playing a 4-3-3 formation, pushed forward from the kick off and forced Deal onto the back foot from the off.

Aiden Pursglove was the first to score, after rounding Daniel Baines , the young Deal goalkeeper and passing the ball home. 

Before Deal could get themselves settled , right winger Jamie Maxton hit a rocket that was deflected for a corner. From the outswinging corner, taken by Jason Long, Centre half Terry Hawkey bundled the ball home.

With the first team, struggling at the foot of the Ryman League Division One table, at Tonbridge Angels, which they lost 3-1, a home crowd of around 50 back at The Homelands sensed a goal feast and got behind Robbins and Larkin's young side.

“It was nice to see some of the season ticket holders come and support the youngsters," said reserve team secretary Shelley Jenner.

For the rest of the half, chances fell to Pursglove, Sims and Long but the home side failed with the final shot. Daniel Baines in the Deal goal standing up to the Nuts and Bolts almost single handedly.

In the second half, Army forward John Whittaker replaced Jamie Maxton, and only seconds after his introduction, after being played in by strike partner Pursglove, he smashed the ball against the left upright with the keeper beaten.

This was to be the script for the rest of the afternoon. Whittaker, Pursglove and Sims all having chances to put the game beyond the battling Deal side.

Ashford Keeper Adam Haines was making his debut for the club, and he probably won't have an easier game. The combination of four strong centre halves kept Deal suppressed so well that he did not have a save to make.

Ashford lad, Billy Rice was making his starting debut for the Nuts and Bolts and capped it off with Man of the Match. “Billy played well when called upon last week, and deserved his chance. I am proud of that display,” said a jubilant Mike Robbins after the game.

Manager, Robbins was delighted with another three points, and added: “The game was effectively won in the dressing room at 3pm with the preparation that was second to none and that showed on the field, because the game WAS over by ten past Three! Hats off to Deal who battled for the next 80 minutes.”

Assistant, Martin Larkin added:   We are now second in the league and take a break next week in the cup, the part being that we are against the team top of the league. It will be a good measure of where we are, maybe a chance to try some other players.”

Ashford Town: Haines, Petts, Bourne (Vidler), Hawkey, Rice, Crawford (Lee), Maxton (Whittaker), Curnock, Pursglove, Simms, Long.  Subs: Arthur, Russell.