Soccer Shorts: We are focused and ready for the challenge, says Ashford United coach Shaun Holland

Friday 05th February 2016

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ASHFORD UNITED coach Shaun Holland says the team are focused and ready for the challenge at Dunston UTS tomorrow.

The two sides played out a 1-1 draw at Homelands Stadium after 120 minutes of football last Saturday and Ashford travelled up to Gateshead today for tomorrow’s FA Vase replay.

“Relaxing atmosphere on the long journey up to Gateshead,” said Holland on the eve of the last sixteen tie.

“As far as the game’s concerned, we are focused and ready for the challenge.

“We have worked in training on certain aspects which I’m sure will strengthen the team tomorrow.

“The experience, combined with youth, is a key factor to what we have built here at the club.

“Let’s hope the Nuts & Bolts can get through to the last eight.”

The winners will travel to Salisbury in The FA Vase Quarter-Finals on Saturday 20 February.

The Wiltshire side are managed by Steve Claridge, 49, a well-travelled striker.

CANTERBURY CITY joint-manager Ben Smith says he wants more consistency from his side.

Sevenoaks Town manager Micky Collins expressed his upset that his side were scheduled to travel to Ashford in midweek but with the venue being free due to Ashford United’s FA Vase replay in the North East tomorrow, the game has been brought forward.

“It will be an interesting game tomorrow against Sevenoaks,” said Smith, with his side in seventh-place in the Southern Counties East Football League on 29 points from 21 games.

“There’s not a lot that separates us in the table and we probably both feel that we should be higher in the league than our current positions but the table doesn’t lie.

“We haven’t been consistent enough so far but you can see from the games we’ve played against the top three that there is real potential in this group and I guess it’s up to myself and Darren Beale to get this out the lads on a regular basis.

“I expect a tough game against them as they have assembled a good squad over the last year or so and added some quality this week, which will undoubtedly give them a lift.

“Apart from Dan Lawrence (who is suspended) we go into the game with a fully fit squad.

“With new signing Regan Payne included we’ll be confident of getting a positive result, but then I’m sure Micky Collins is saying exactly the same thing!”

Ninth-placed Sevenoaks Town have added Joe Fuller, Joe Bingham, Chinedu MacKenzie, Harry Slater and Kieron McCann to their squad in recent days.

DARTFORD manager Tony Burman has been praised by 20-year-old midfielder Ebrima Adams after he sealed a move to Premier League Norwich City.

Adams becomes the first player to leave the Darts to sign for a Premier League outfit.

“I left Dartford Football Club after five wonderful years to join Norwich City FC,” said Adams in a statement posed on

“As a 15 year old boy I never imagined I would have achieved what I have so far in my short career and Dartford has given me the privilege to pull on the shirt and experience first team football and this is something I will be forever grateful for.

“Saturday 26th April 2014 was the day I will never forget, when the Gaffer gave me my first full debut away from home at Macclesfield Town FC.

“That match started me off on my journey as a footballer, and from then on every time I have worn the white and black shirt of Dartford I have given 100% for the club.

“I’d like to say thank you to EVERY member of staff behind the scenes, my team mates and coaches from my youth team day’s right up until now and the manager Tony Burman – a man who has shown me endless trust and support from day one. He gave me the chance to play football but I owe a great deal to you all and I hope I can do you proud as I start my new adventure with Norwich City FC.

“I will keep in contact with the club, be down to see you play whenever I can and always look for the results.

“Dartford is a great, well run club from top to bottom and I hope we can climb back up the ladder into the National League and maybe even further.

“Dartford FC is, and always will be, a special club to me. I wish you nothing but success for many, many years to come and I hope to see you all again soon.

“All the very best and thank you.”

EBBSFLEET UNITED front man Alex Osborn has joined Concord Rangers on loan for a month.

It is the third loan deal this season for Osborn, 22, following spells at Hayes & Yeading United and Maidstone United.

The former Dagenham & Redbridge player has featured five times for the Fleet this season, scoring twice in the Kent Senior Cup, to bring his club total to 11 goals in 74 games. He first joined the club on loan from Dagenham in 2013, making the move to Stonebridge Road permanent the following season.

A club statement, which was published on said: “Concord almost sealed a loan deal for Osborn this time last season but that move fell through because of injury.

“However, the Essex club have returned for the player this month and he will join them for a second spell in a run of fixtures that includes games against Gosport Borough, Truro City, Dartford and Oxford City.”


FOLKESTONE INVICTA have suspended 19-year-old defender Callum Wraight ‘until further notice’ following his return this week from a three month loan spell at Whitstable Town.

The former Under 18s captain was in the Folkestone side for Tuesday’s friendly at Deal Town which was abandoned at half-time when the referee was taken ill.

Folkestone manager Neil Cugley told : “It’s very disappointing that we have had to take this action and I don’t want to make a big deal of it.

"But he has let himself and the club down by failing to turn up on a number of occasions during his loan period at Whitstable.

“Callum’s not a bad lad, and I’ve often said how much potential he’s got.

“But he’s too old to play for our Under 18s now, and if he wants to be involved in a decent level of semi-professional football he’s got to realise what is expected from him.”

LEATHERHEAD have signed striker Frannie Collin following his loan spell from Maidstone United.

The 28-year-old joined Maidstone United from Tonbridge Angels in August 2013 and went on to make 122 appearances for the Stones.

He played the whole 90 minutes for The Tanners in their 4-0 defeat at Tonbridge Angels in midweek.

Of his 50-plus goals for the club, two goals in one game will live long in the memory for hundreds of Maidstone United fans. His brace in the FA Cup first round replay last season, in front of a capacity crowd and the BT Sport cameras, secured a famous win against League Two side Stevenage.

Maidstone United boss Jay Saunders told “I am sorry to see Frannie go.  He played a big part in the promotion and cup success we enjoyed last season.

“While many will remember his goals against Stevenage, for me it was the winner against Grays Athletic – a goal that turned the championship in our favour.

“It was a pleasure to have him at the club for the last two and a half years and I wish him every success at Leatherhead.”

WHITSTABLE TOWN invite supporters to a meeting on Thursday 11 February after their chairman Gary Johnson resigned at the start of the week.

“There will be a meeting, open to all, to give everyone a view on how things will look in the future here at Whitstable Town,” said a club statement.

“This will take place at 8pm in the clubhouse where we will hope to share some exciting news for the future of the club.”

Whitstable Town are rooted to the foot of the Ryman League Division One South table, having collected four wins and two draws from their 33 league games.

The Oysters are 14 points adrift of safety with 13 league games remaining and will need to pull off a miracle to avoid relegation into the Southern Counties East football League.

Article published: 21:40 - Friday 5th February 2016