Overland gets the nod - EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Thursday 20th July 2006
Ashford Town came out of their summer hibernation last night, fortunately holding their Ryman Premier League neighbours Folkestone Invicta to a 1-1 draw at a rain starved Homelands last night, writes Stephen McCartney.


Invicta, who also hit the woodwork three times, took the lead after 63 minutes when central defender Lee Shearer nodded home Steve Norman’s hanging far post corner from close range.

But Ashford netted a last-gasp equaliser through former Maidstone United and Hythe Town hit-man Richard Sinden.

They had goalkeeper Simon Overland to thank, making a string of fine saves late in the game, and John Cumberbatch, Ashford’s joint manager, revealed in an EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with www.kentishfootball.co.uk who their number one goalkeeper will be this term.

The tall stopper, whose on a season long loan from Nationwide Conference side Dagenham & Redbridge having joined just before transfer deadline day last season, is first-choice leaving big Dave Wietecha as understudy – and unhappy.

“I say were happy we’ve got him on a season’s loan from Dagenham but having said that you never know,” said Cumberbatch last night.

“He’s playing very well, Dagenham gave him a full game on Saturday, and at any time he could be called back.”

Cumberbatch revealed he’s currently having talks with Wietecha, the former Millwall, Bromley and Folkestone Invicta goalkeeper.

“We’re having talks with Dave at the moment,” he said.  “He’s not happy being understudy, but we want to keep him at the club.”

Ashford gave Simon Glover a first half run out and Anthony Allman played the entire 90 minutes and Goran Jerkovic, whose played first team football in France for Lyon, got 75 minutes under his belt.

And Folkestone's Walid Matata’s brother, Hashim, came off the bench during the second half.

But the club, whose finished their last two season’s third from bottom and avoiding relegation from Ryman League Division One, has yet signed any players, but Cumberbatch is confident they will.

Overland, Tom Adlington, Stuart Playford, Barry Crawford, Marc Cumberbatch, Ian Ross, Kenny Jarrett-Elliott, Joff and Joby Thorogood, Peter Mortley and Sinden are all expected to sign Ryman League forms with the Homelands club, but Wietecha’s future hangs in the balance.

“We’re hoping the majority of them will sign with a few youngsters who are here as trialists and hoping to get into the squad,” said Cumberbatch.

“One or two of them have to do very well to get in because we have a good, strong experienced squad.

“How its going to gel we don’t know because at the moment a lot of these we’ve only seen in training, but with this being the first game it’s not enough to tell how things will pan out but we’re just pleased with the players we’ve got in for now.

“We’ve certainly got two or three key players and retained some very important players so we’ve got a nucleus.”

But what is pleasing is that the club, whose not enjoyed a good time since their switch from the Southern League two years ago, have maintained some experienced campaigners.

Cumberbatch said: “I think there was always a danger of players leaving, but I think also going back to the squad we had towards the end of the season I think a lot of these players realised that some of them came into a situation where things were already low.

“They’re quite confident that with a little bit more luck this season, we should do better.

“I think they were quite eager to stay on.  We were quite fortunate to get people like Simon Glover (ex Folkestone Invicta and Heybridge Swifts) and Anthony Allman (ex Margate) so that’s strengthened it.”

Looking ahead to their next friendly, Cumberbatch revealed what he and Tim Thorogood are doing for the visit of Windsor & Eton on Saturday.

“Well, again we’re going to have the same as tonight  - we’re experimenting.

“It’s going to be one of those games where were just looking at players individually and its really from the trip to Tonbridge next Tuesday, when we look at the shape of the team.” Cumberbatch said.

Ashford Town  v  Windsor & Eton
Pre-Season Friendly
Saturday 22nd July 2006
Kick Off 3:00pm
At The Homelands, Ashford Road, Kingsnorth, Ashford