Thorogood: We came up against a quality striker - EXCLUSIVE
Ashford Town joint-manager and chairman Tim Thorogood was disappointed that his side’s four game winning streak - and FA Cup hopes - came to an end on Saturday, writes Stephen McCartney.
Two goals from Welsh striker Andy Martin, 26, in the second half, after Steve Aris nodded a goal after just 117 seconds gave Tonbridge Angels a 3-1 win in the first qualifying round clash.
George Fenwick, son of former Ashford Town boss and England star Terry, headed his fifth goal of the season to bring his side back on level terms after 32 minutes.
But their higher league Kentish rivals booked their place in the next round and will meet Banbury United at the Betterview Longmead Stadium on 30 September.
Thorogood, whose resurgent side travel to Sittingbourne on Tuesday night, told www.kentishfootball.co.uk: “I thought we played really well and were the better side in the first half.
“It was a tough, physical game, and you’re not going to get an easy game against a quality side like that.
When Angels’ substitute, home grown striker Luke Piscina entered the fray after 48 minutes, this proved to be costly for Ashford, as just two minutes later Martin looped a header into the corner before Martin scored from a quickly taken free kick sixteen minutes later.
“I think the difference between the two teams was when the centre forward came on, which was Luke Piscina, and to be fair he’s quality,” said Thorogood.
“He was quality when he played against us in the pre-season friendly, and to be honest with you he changed the game.
“If it wasn’t for him it really would have remained the same, or we may have nicked a result.”
Although Angels’ boss Tony Dolby could change the game through an inspired substitution, Thorogood’s options, however, were limited.
Despite five players on the bench, of which he used Jonathan (Joff) Thorogood, Joe Hitchins, 16, and Stuart Playford, several players were carrying knocks.
Unused substitutes Graham Porter (Achillies tendon) and Marc Cumberbatch (hamstring) weren’t risked but Kenny Jarrett-Elliott and goalscorer Fenwick were both playing with hamstring strains.
But with just an eighteen-man squad at his disposal, Thorogood’s hand was forced.
But hopes are high that the Nuts & Bolts can win at Bourne Park on Tuesday night.
“At the end of the day the league is more important,” expressed Thorogood.
“The FA Cup, we’d love a run in it, unfortunately we came up against a really good side. But our league form has obviously improved.
“We need to get one or two players back from injuries. That’s been our problem - our bench was really short.”
Star player Simon Glover, however, completed his suspension on Saturday, but Thorogood explained the midfielder’s father is seriously ill, and may not be available for the derby.
“We’ve got Glovsie back pending on his father, who is very ill, so that’s touch and go to see whether he can play or not,” he said.
“I think the league’s more important. We just needed to have that bit of self belief and now we’ve got it I feel we’re a bit more tenacious.”
Right-back Tom Adlington, was also disappointed that his 130th appearance for the club ended with FA Cup elimination.
But he feels his team-mates can continue their improved form.
He said: “The last four, five games including today we’ve improved greatly since the last time we spoke (after their 4-0 defeat at the hands of Molesey on 26 August).
“We’ve had a run of four wins now, today was a hard game.
“We put up a good show first half. We conceded an early goal second half and it killed us really - we never bounced back from there.”
But Adlington feels they can bounce back against a Sittingbourne side who earnt a FA Cup trip to Fisher Athletic following their 3-0 stroll over Hassocks.
Sittingbourne v Ashford Town
Ryman League Division One South
Tuesday 19th September 2006
Kick Off 7:45pm
At Bourne Park, Central Park, Eurolink, Church Road, Sittingbourne