It finished honours even in the FA Trophy Preliminary Round against Canvey Island. So close to a first season win for the Tangerines.
Ashford’s settled starting XI is looking more composed with each game, and the only change this time was in goal. Under 18 goalkeeper Josh Wilson made his first team debut a lot quicker than expected with Sam Mason forced out through injury. Unfortunately for Josh and the team Canvey Island struck virtually straight away on the attack in the first minute. It wasn’t clear from our position exactly what happened as many of the crowd were still taking up their positions so early on, but the ball fell to Jason Hallett who slotted home from very close range.
The game settled down from there on and Ashford grew more confident as the half progressed. Gradually more composed and looking to get forward as they searched for a breakthrough. The Tangerines had a couple of good opportunities midway through the first 45, but nothing clear cut, as the half played out fairly even until half-time.
Ashford started the second half on the front foot, looking to get at the visitors and find that equaliser. The chances just wouldn’t run kindly and goals seemed elusive despite the added pressure. The breakthrough finally came in the 63rd minute though when Kelvin Adjei got in behind the Canvey defence managing to get another shot in, which was half blocked by the on-rushing keeper eventually crossing the line inside the far post after what seemed an absolute age! The visitors looked to get back in to the game and ease the pressure but Ashford continued to push on and take the game to them, creating some good attacking moves and half chances. All the attacking play was rewarded in the 83rd minute when substitute Scott Todd netted to give the Tangerines the lead. A good break forward down the right wing was cut inside to Darryl Harrison on the corner of the penalty box who squared neatly to Sam Humphreys, and then on again to Todd at the far post. His quick cut back and low shot inside the near post coolly making it 2-1.
Canvey responded straight away, pushing on with their own attack. A needless free-kick conceded just outside the Ashford area put them in a good position, and the resulting set-piece ended with a penalty award as the ball was floated over the home defence. The whistle blowing for a shirt pull as Canvey looked to get in on goal. Kane Gilbert stepped up to convert from the spot, low to Josh Wilson’s left with him guessing the right way, giving the away side an 88th minute equaliser. The final moments could have seen them awarded a second penalty as one of their players was upended near the spot just as he was about to shoot on goal. Nothing was given this time though even though it was possibly more of a penalty than the first. It’s now all back to Park Lane for the replay on Tuesday night (15th October).