Thursday 28th October 2004

The Kent Website
Supporting Kentish Football

Ashford make it four wins on the spin

ASHFORD TOWN'S reserve side went into their midweek game against Danson Furness at Homelands full of optimism on the back of three straight wins, writes Stephen McCartney.

Danson, however, were never to be under estimated, having beaten Go Travel Kent League Division One leaders Maidstone United recently.

Ashford manager Mike Robbins had a couple of first team players added to his squad, coming back from injury or time off.  Former skipper Matty Bower in midfield and Aaron O'Leary at left-back were drafted into the side.

Where as on Saturday against Herne Bay, the weather was a great leveller.  The weather for this game saw light drizzle fall throughout and this added to the end to end excitement created by both teams.

The Homelands ground staff did a superb job, keeping the pitch playable.

The game itself started brightly for Ashford, who as in previous games pressed from the start.  Only a string of fine saves from the visiting goalkeeper denied Long, Purseglove and Cunningham from scoring as early as the first five minutes.

On 13 minutes, Long found Purseglove only for his shot to be excellently blocked but Long was there to side foot Ashford into the lead from eighteen yards.

Long and Purseglove both had one-on-ones beaten away by the goalkeeper.

Cunningham missed a header that seemed easier to score but never gave up.  Bower, Clarke and McCann were solid for Ashford as they searched for the second goal.

With Ashford having a 1-0 lead at the break, no changes were made during the interval.  Town could, and should have been five up at the break.

Assistant manager Martin Larkin admitted: "The goalkeeper has played a blinder and kept them in it."

Ten minutes into the half, Robbins changed Cunningham for forgotten striker Graham Norris, who almost made an immediate impact if not for the assistant's flag.

Ashford again went searching for what proved to be the winner, when Long and Pursglove had chances.

The next goal came on the hour when Bower hit a speculative drive from 25 yards, through a crowd of players low into the net.

Levielle in the Ashford goal pulled off the save of the season, when diving full length to tip the ball around the left hand corner of his goal.  Although not called upon too often, the French goalkeeper was superb.

Danson appeared to back off at this scoreline and looked as though they would prepare to have been at home, and Town made amended for early missed on 75 minutes when Long hit his fifth goal of the season.

Two changes, O'Leary and Pursglove were replaced by Jones and Hutton once they scored their third goal.

For reasons only known to themselves the home side took their foot of the gas and though they could cruise home, this proved to be a mistake.

Danson scored a consolation with eight minutes to go after the home side failed to clear from a corner and the shot was lashed past Leville from around eight-yards, setting up an exciting finish.

Bower hit the shot of the match late on, hitting the bar from a forty-yard volley direct from a Danson goal kick - with the goalkeeper beaten - the small but contented crowd gave a deserved applause, but the ball bounced off the crossbar.

Ashford boss Robbins was particularly pleased with the win, and added: "Danson were a good footballing side who will win more than they lose.

"We have now won four on the spin and are really starting to believe in ourselves.

"With an average age of twenty, there are some great prospects here for Terry (Fenwick) and Frank (Gill)."

Elite Man of the Match:  Karl Levielle

Ashford Town: Leveille, McCann, O Leary (Hutton 76), Clarke ©, Nadjowski, Robinson, Pursglove (Jones 74), Bower, Cunningham (Norris 55), Day , Long. Subs: Poyner, Wood