Thursday 01st September 2005

Seitsonen gets nod for Police visit

Thursday 11th
August 2005
Pre-Season Friendly Stephen McCartney reports from The Homelands
Ashford Town 1 Eddie Achoko 12
Folkestone Invicta 1 Simon Glover 61

John Cumberbatch, the newly appointed joint-manager of Ashford Town has revealed who will start their Ryman League division one opener in goal at Metropolitan Police on August 20th, writes Stephen McCartney.

Speaking in an EXCLUSIVE interview with following their 1-1 draw against Ryman Premier League neighbours Folkestone Invicta, the 48-year-old from Orpington has given the nod to former Erith & Belvedere goalkeeper, Jani Seitsonen.

Despite his Finnish name, Seitsonen is a South Londoner and was player-of-the-year at the Park View Road club in season 2003-04 and it's his experience at this level that has fought off fellow goalkeeper, Sean Glover, who played against Neil Cugley's side.

"At the moment Jani Seitsonen is still the one who will be on the team sheet because we know the experience Jani has," Cumberbatch revealed.

"Sean (Glover) is one of the players who was an unknown quantity.  I coached Sean when he was about sixteen or seventeen and then he went off to play for Redhill and I haven't seen what his progress had been up until he came here so we're delighted with him.

"We have no problems if Sean has to cover for Jani but at the moment Jani is still the number one keeper but there's not a lot between them at all."

After taking over from Tony Kessell in the Folkestone goal, Matt Hurley gifted the home side an early lead.  The trialist dropped a free kick at the far post, which gifted midfielder Eddie Achoko a chance and he duly obliged by stroking the ball inside the far post.

Looking at the Ashford Town team-sheet, however, there are many unknown players listed, but Cumberbatch admitted he is impressed by the new players' performances during their pre-season campaign.

Ashford have hastily arranged their last pre-season friendly, at Maldon Town on Monday night, and Cumberbatch hints the starting eleven for this game could be the starting eleven at Imber Court.

"I got a phone call (Thursday) from the Maldon Town manager, who wants to play us on the Monday evening, which is perfect for us," revealed Cumberbatch.

"We wanted our training sessions on Tuesday and Thursday and we wanted Saturday (13th) free, but with him agreeing to play is on the Monday that's absolutely perfect.

"We've still got those training sessions in and again on Monday we'll have more or less the eleven that we're wanting to start against Metropolitan Police.

"But we're fairly certain bar one or two decisions to be made in certain areas."

Speaking about their much-changed team, Cumberbatch added: "We had pinpointed some key players in key positions, and three or four of them senior players with good experience and good pedigree and we wanted to get those in and suddenly we found because of the shenanigans last month, we found we couldn't get these players because they were worried there wasn't going to be a club.

"So we lost every single one of them and in a short space of time, we had to put together a squad, with a lot of young players in from various areas and teams.

"When we had the first training session, we were quite impressed with their work rate, commitment and attitude but having gone into the actual games, we're even more delighted to find, we think we have a few gems in there, so we're very pleased."

Although he hasn't watched Metropolitan Police during their pre-season campaign, Cumberbatch knows what to expect.

"No we haven't had a chance to watch them this season and I must admit I tend not to watch teams in pre-season friendlies too much as you can't tell alot from them, especially if they are trying players and new formations out.

"But Met Police have always been a side that play a similar sort of game, they are going to be big, hitting long balls from the back and they're not going to play much football along the ground, so it's going to be a contrasting game because we try to play on the ground."

Ashford, however, were denied victory just on the hour mark, when Invicta's Simon Glover stroked home the equaliser, receiving a square pass from Stuart Myall.

The visitors hit the post twice in the final ten minutes, but Cumberbatch was satisfied with a draw.

"Yes, very pleasing for us," he said.  "First we felt the opposition put out quite a strong side, or a very strong side we were told, and the overall result we were pleased about.

"Towards the end we felt we had a couple of easy breaks when they hit the post on two occasions, having said that we had about four chances that we really expect two of those to go in.

"So overall I felt it was a fair result and I was pleased, not the way we played all through the game, but certainly in the second half, the way we came out and dominated."

Starting eleven's only:

Ashford Town: Sean Glover, Tom Adlington, Gary Croxton, Lynvall Duncan, Marc Cumberbatch (capt) , Eddie Achoko, Terry McCann, Joff Thorogood, Joby Thorogood, Shaun Bradshaw, Ian Ross

Folkestone Invicta: Matt Hurley, Matt Bower, Steve Norman, Adam Flanagan, Kevin Watson, Scott Lindsey (capt), Michael Everitt, Simon Glover, Joe Neilson, Paul Jones, Stuart Myall

Referee: Lee Venamore
Assistants: Jonathan Gooding & Ian Fissenden