Debutant goalkeeper Arterton gifts Ashford
|Barry Feist reports from Homelands|
|Slade Green||1||Weir 26|
|Having signed from Whitstable Town
last week, goalkeeper Gary Arterton made his Slade Green debut but it was
one to forget as he gifted Ashford Town two goals - one in each half -
after spilling two identical free kicks, writes Barry Feist.
Ashford had their first attack on two minutes. A free-kick was played deep into the Green area and had to be cleared for a corner by Lee Barber.
The ball into the box fell at the feet of an Ashford player whose shot rebounded off Arterton and looked to be heading into the goal, but Green threw bodies in the way and after a heartstopping goalmouth scramble the ball somehow ended up in the grateful arms of the grounded keeper.
Green had almost conceded an early goal but they didn't buckle under the pressure. Scott Lewis took the ball down the left hand flank and won a throw in 25 yards from the Ashford goal. From the throw in, Lewis crossed into the box, but former Kingstonian keeper Jani Seitsonen came to pluck the ball and eliminate the danger.
Richard Boorman then fired just wide on 12 minutes for Ashford and Seitsonen pulled off another good save following a Slade Green corner.
Green attacked again on 14 minutes and gained a free-kick on the right. Danny Little's ball into the area found the head of Lee Morgan but was unable to direct it anywhere near the goal and the ball was cleared by the Ashford defence.
Again Ashford came forward, and a mix-up in defence between Gallagher and Barber ended with Gallagher giving away a free-kick. Ashford's initial shot struck the wall. The ball rebounded and the follow-up shot hit the arm of Barber.
The Kentish Observer League side were now very much under pressure. Arterton failed to hold onto Boorman's free-kick and the ball fell at the feet of Joby Thorogood for the striker to score from only a few yards with 22 minutes on the clock.
The game died away until the 26th minute. A long goal kick by Arterton found the head of Glen McTaggart who managed to direct it into the path of Tony Weir who strolled through Ashford's defence and fired home past the advancing and unprotected Seitsonen to level the score.
Opportunities were few and far between for Slade Green in the second half, but on 53 minutes Weir picked up the ball in midfield and sent it wide to Danny Little. Little was fouled by Solomon Henry but picked himself up to send the free-kick into the box. Morgan's shot was blocked by the Ashford defence and Aran Heyrettin's shot from the edge of the box flew over the bar.
Ashford then took the lead on 66 minutes. Green again gave away a free-kick on the edge of the area and again Arterton spilled the shot only this time it was Shaun Bradshaw that was on hand to strike home Ashford's second goal.
Less than three minutes later Boorman pounced on a poor Slade Green clearance to score from the edge of the box to hand the Ryman League Division One side a home tie against Ryman Premier League outfit Windsor & Eton at the Homelands on 10th September.
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