|John Ullmann Kent Senior Cup First Round
|Peter Pitts reports from Homelands
(aet, Ashford Town won 4-2 on penalties)
Ashford spot on
Ashford Town are having a torrid time this season having won just two out of their competitive games so far, however, they produced a good first half display where they played some good football and scored two goals.
Sittingbourne came back powerfully in the second half when Kevin Fewell was a spectator for much of the half.
A goal apiece from Paul Manning and Dave Hassett levelled the scores to put the game into extra time, but neither team could muster another goal so the game went into penalties.
Sittingbourne missed their first two, whilst Ashford scored all theirs and so the Nuts & Bolts progress to the next round.
Sittingbourne started with a re-arranged team as Jon Neal, Kieran Marsh and Lee Browning were on the bench and Clint Gooding and Dave Hassett had their first full games for some weeks. Young Reece Jacobs from the reserves replaced the injured Dean Hill in the number 3 shirt and did well in his first outing for the team.
The game was played in atrocious conditions, it had been raining hard for about an hour before kick off and continued teeming down throughout the game.
Ashford took the lead on 7 minutes when Joby Thorogood rounded a couple of Brickies defenders and planted a good shot past Kevin Fewell from just inside the area.
Then Andre Robinson forced a good save from Fewell. Two minutes later Robinson went one better when he crashed home a header from a corner and Ashford were two up.
Ashford continued threatening and Fewell saved from Tom Evans.
Sittingbourne's long ball wasn't getting them anyway and the team looked disjointed, however, they began to get into the game and Bradley Spice set up a great chance for Paul Manning but the hard working mid-fielder produced a tame shot.
The Brickies finished the half with shots from Jamie Coyle and Hassett but neither seriously troubled John Whitehouse in the Ashford goal.
The second half began with Ashford nearly extending their lead as the lively ex Reading player Erron Dussard cut inside and sent in a great shot which bounced off the top of the Brickies bar, then Fewell pulled off a marvellous point blank save as he palmed an Evans shot over the bar.
Spice had a tight angled shot tipped round for a corner but still Sittingbourne weren't looking convincing.
Sittingbourne then brought on Marsh, Browning and Neal for Gooding, Douglas and Spice who had picked up an injury, and straight away they looked a much better balanced outfit.
They were camped in the Ashford half until at last on 74 minutes they pulled a goal back through Paul Manning who latched onto a corner kick just outside the area and blasted the ball past Whitehouse.
Four minutes later they were level when the ball was flicked through to Hassett who just beat Whitehouse to the ball and toe poked it into the net.
Whitehouse pulled off a great save from Manning on 81 minutes then Neal had an effort easily saved.
On 84 minutes Shane Campbell trapped the ball well but sent his shot narrowly wide and so the game went into extra time.
The first period of extra time saw Ashford come back into the game and both Thorogood and Paul Jones had narrow misses.
The second period belonged to Sittingbourne and after just 3 minutes of the restart Marvin Rufus had to kick the ball off the goal line.
Sittingbourne continued to press and a corner to the far post saw Paul Ainsworth head the ball straight into Whitehouse's arms.
Ashford almost snatched the game right a the death when Fewell did well to hold a deflected effort, however, honours were even and the game went to dreaded penalties.
Paul Manning for Sittingbourne went first and missed, then Ashford's Jones stepped up and made no mistake. Next up was Coyle but he sent his kick over the bar. Thorogood put his kick away and although James Campbell and Marsh scored theirs for Sittingbourne, Ashford's Rufus and Byron Glasgow also converted theirs and so the Brickies were out of another competition.
Ashford Town: Whitehouse, Adlington, O'Brien, Holmes (Jones 61), Ritrovato, Bower, Glasgow, E Dussard, Thorogood, Robinson (O'Leary 83), Evans (Rufus 67), Sub: L Dussard
Sittingbourne: Fewell, Coyle, Jacobs, Douglas (Marsh 63), J Campbell, Ainsworth, S Campbell, Gooding (Browning 63), Hassett, Spice (Neal 67), Manning, Subs not used: Ashmore, Beeney