Tangerines start new era with win
Ryman League Premier Division,
Ashford, with new manager Jamie Lawrence in charge of his first match since his appointment the previous Wednesday, looked upbeat from the kick off and dominated the early exchanges with Warren Harris, back from injury proving to be more than a handful for Boro left back Ryan Watts. Brian Haule and Byron Harrison also showed that their partnership up front was beginning to pay dividends as they scored a goal apiece.
An early free kick for a foul on Harris as he attempted to wriggle past two defenders gave Paul Johnson the opportunity to whip the ball into the danger area where Brian Haule could only deflect it wide of Andray Baptiste’s left hand goal post but a quick counter attack and cross from the right by Jonathon Constant gave Dwayne Clarke a chance but he headed over.
Another free kick, this time for a foul on Brian Haule, was again played into the Boro penalty area by Johnson but Harrison could not direct his header on target. The visitors continued to press and another foul on Harris by Watts gave Johnson another chance to swing in a dangerous free kick that fell to Russ Canderton but the central defender could not get a clean touch on the ball, but Brian Haule was on hand to half hit a shot past Baptiste and in at the far post to give the visitors an early lead.
Boro had a chance to equalise shortly after when Clarke managed to escape the attentions of Canderton and it took superb defending from Hone Fowler to keep the striker out. Then a bad challenge from behind by Watts on Harris, who had yet again beaten him with ease, went unpunished by referee Mr Scott, who otherwise enjoyed a solid match.
Canderton came to the rescue, shortly before the break, heading clear from a Clarke strike and Harris got back to help his defence with a brave clearing header as Rocky Baptiste threatened. Then, in the second minute of time added, Ashford struck for the second time. Harrison latched on to a well weighted through ball and shot across Andray Baptiste and in at the far post.
Harrow came into the game more in the second half and Craig Ross was forced to save low from Dean Fenton early on then another free kick from Johnson just eluded Fowler and Harrison at the other end.
Watts pushed up, gaining the by-line before linking with Danny Leech who skied his shot as Harrow applied pressure of their own and, on 65 minutes, Ashford’s cause was not helped when Davis Haule was dismissed for catching Watts with a flying arm.
With the visitors defending, sometimes desperately, Harrow deservedly pulled a goal back when Watts’s free kick was helped on before being headed home from close range by Wayne Walters.
Harrow pushed forward looking for the equaliser but Guy Hollis and Canderton were solid at the back, but even so Walters could have done better from a corner where he headed over and Clarke had a superb drive pushed over the bar by Ross. The visitors, though, managed to weather the storm and return to Short Lane with the three points to put a smile on the new manager’s face.