Ashford’s Cup runneth over
Surrey Senior Cup Quarter Final,
Ashford Town’s remarkable form in Cup Competitions continued as they advanced to their third Semi-Final of the season with a deserved victory over Kingstonian. The visitors arrived at Short Lane top of Division One South and having had the benefit of not having played on Tuesday, but departed on the wrong end of the same scoreline registered when these two clubs met in January. Mark Butler retained the majority of the side who had won 3-2 at Carshalton Athletic just 48 hours earlier although Moses Phillips, who had made his full debut at Colston Avenue was on the bench.
The Tangerines got the perfect start when they took the lead after just thirty-three seconds. Warren Harris dispossesed Jason Turley and flew down the left flank, before striking a low cross which his brother Scott Harris powered into the net.
Ashford continued to dominate the match and should have doubled their advantage in the seventh minute when a long-range drive from Scott Todd was spilled by visiting ‘keeper Luke Naughton. Gavin Smith attempted to score from the rebound but was denied by Naughton.
The hosts continued to look lively and did score a second goal in the 20th minute. A sublime pass split the K’s defence and sent Gavin Smith clear of the defence and he chipped delicately over Naughton to double his side’s advantage.
A good passing move saw Smith again foiled by the goalkeeper in the 28th minute but just moments later Kingstonian pulled a goal back. Hitting Ashford on the break with some incisive passing, the K’s found Craig Mullin, who turned his marker and fired across the goal, finding the net via the far post. Ashford suffered a blow in the thirty-third minute when Ricardo Joseph left the field with an injury to be replaced by Nick Hardy, which forced Brett Cooper to fill Joseph’s left-back role. However, the enforced reshuffle did not affect Ashford unduly and they might have added a third goal in the thirty-fifth minute. Again, the Harris brothers were in the thick of the action, with Warrenhaving a shot blocked and from the resultant corner Scott’s header being saved by Naughton.
Clement James forced a low save from Craig Ross five minutes before half-time while Cooper went close for Ashford with a diving header as the first have came to a close.
Kingstonian started the second half brightly and Phil Williams hit the post for the visitors. Ashford weathered the early storm and regained control. Warren Harris was denied by Naughton in a one-on-one. A Billy Jeffreys header was well-saved by Naughton just before the hour, while an Adam Logie diving header was cleared off the line just after the hour.
As the game entered it’s final quarter, the visitors threw everything at their opponents in search of an equaliser. A free kick from Tommy Williams caused chaos in the Ashford goalmouth, although Ross eventually made the save, while Warren Harris fired wide at the other end after another decent move. However, the final chance of the match went to K’s in the second minute of additional time. Logie bundled over Mullin on the edge of the box and was cautioned for the foul. Tommy Williams took the free kick and his shot cleared the bar by a narrow margin, taking his team’s chances with it.
Ashford’s reward for this win is a home tie with Epsom & Ewell of the Combined Counties League in the last four, which is likely to be played on March 26th.