Ashford 1 – 0 Whitstable Town
Saturday 17 October 2020 | FA Trophy 2nd Qualifying Round
Another strong and well organised team performance takes the Tangerines through to the next round of the FA Trophy.
It’s always nice to have a bit of a cup run. So it’s especially nice to be in the hat for tomorrow’s draw for the 3rd Qualifying Round of the FA Trophy. And overall it’s very much deserved off the back of two 1-0 wins.
Ashford didn’t have to wait long to take the lead. After a strong opening few minutes Captain Matt Bunyan smashed an absolute beauty of a goal from distance. There are not many keepers who could have got close to saving that kind of effort! What a way to start a cup tie. Two minutes later and Bunyan had the ball in the net again with a deft chip, but the linesman had the flag up early for the offside. the Tangerines dominated the following passages of play, and Jack French came close with a good effort in the 18th minute. His left foot shot finishing just wide.
The visitors started to settle a bit after this and started to get forward themselves. Their first good move saw Aaron Millbank turn and shoot back across goal on 25 minutes, but this was comfortably saved by Paul McCarthy. Ashford were forced in to an early substitution in the 29th minute when scorer Matt Bunyan was replced by James Cottee following a couple of knocks. And then just 8 minutes later Kane Fitzgerald was also forced off, being replaced by Brad Sweeney. Luckily the changes did not disrupt things too much with both subs getting involved straight away, and it could have been two on 38 minutes. A little game of head tennis on the Whitstable goal line and somehow the visitors kept it out and cleared on the fourth attempt.
Whitstable pushed on and should have had the equaliser in the 40th minute. A break down their left wing resulting in a great corss to the far post where a strong header from TJ Jadama was superbly saved at point blank range by the diving McCarthy. This proved to be a game winning save! Ashford continued to play some great attacking football, with some neat passing moves. Jack French had an effort half blocked for a corner just before half time as the hosts had the better of the chances.
The restart saw things steeping a bit in terms of intensity from both sides. With the extra effort a few yellow cards started to appear. Ashford created another good chance on 72 minutes when James Cottee broke in to the box but he could not nip it past the on-rushing Dan Eason in the Whitstable goal. Dan Brown came close to grabbing a second for the Tangerines two minutes later. Beating Eason to a flick on from Cottee, but he was pushed wide and his shot hit the side netting from a tight angle. And just three minutes after this Steven Duff also had a great chance. Beating two defenders with a run in from the left, cutting across goal but hitting his right foot shot straight at Eason.
Whitstable did press on when possible. With some good passing moves and looking to get in and around the Ashford defence. However, they just couldn’t find a way through with the home side defending in numbers and keeping their shape to a man until the final whistle after five minutes of added time. A very hard fought and deserved win for Ashford, with another excellent team performance.