Zamaretto League, Central Division
We certainly didn’t have to wait long for some drama as the visitors opened the scoring in the first minute when Nathan Munroe volleyed a cross from the left past Lee Pearce in the Ashford goal.
The sparse crowd didn’t have to wait too long for the equaliser either, Scott Weight getting up to head home from a Kane Louis corner.
Another cross from the Hayes left, again found Munroe, but he couldn’t keep his second effort on target, then a nasty clash between Weight and Dominic Rhone resulted in Weight being shown the yellow card by pedantic referee Gillett.
Ashford took the lead in the 16th minute when Jamie Lawrence nodded the ball onto Louis who was tackled but the ball ran free to Jordan Kiffin who rifled it into the back of the Hayes net from just outside the penalty box.
A third goal followed, a minute later, a great dummy by Lawrence allowed the ball to run on to Jones Awuah who advanced before sliding the ball past Simon Grant for his 5th goal of the season so far.
Ashford keeper Lee Pearce seemed to land awkwardly but after a few minutes treatment he resumed his place between the posts then, shortly after, a Hollis long throw was brought under control by Lawrence and laid back to Louis who fired over Grant’s bar.
Ashford secured a fourth goal in the 37th minute, Louis drifted in from the right and shot left footed but the ball hit a defender and was deflected to Kiffin who blasted the ball high into the top corner of the net for his second of the game.
Luke Hickie shot just wide after being set up by Lawrence then, on the stroke of half time, referee Gillett inexplicably awarded Hayes a penalty against Hollis when it looked as if it was the young Ashford defender who was the innocent party. Up stepped Gilbert Nuako to shoot low and hard toward the inside of Lee Pearce’s left hand post but the big keeper executed an acrobatic dive to get his hand to the ball and deflect it away for a corner.
Chamal Fenelon replaced Kane Louis at half time in a tactical switch but, just as in the first half, Hayes struck early, the lively Danilson Vicente breaking through to beat Pearce for his side’s second.
Hayes should have pulled another goal back, three minutes later, when Pearce succumbed to the knee injury sustained in the first half, but Rhone could only crash the ball against the Ashford bar with Pearce prone on the ground. Pearce was helped off to be replaced by 16 year old Jordan Dawson.
Brave goalkeeping by Grant, twice kept out the rampaging Chamal Fenelon as he dived at the giant striker’s feet while, at the other end, Vicente wasted a chance, firing high after being put through by Troy Powell.
Ashford very nearly got a 5th goal with a quarter of an hour left when Hollis’ long throw was helped on to Awuah at the far post who hit the bar with his shot on the turn then, Dawson showed why he is considered an outstanding prospect as he made two excellent saves to keep out Vicente and Rhone in quick succession.