Ryman League Premier Division,
Ashford manager Jamie Lawrence made a few changes to the side that lost the previous week against Sutton United, bringing in new on-loan signing Joe McNerney from Woking in place of Russ Canderton in the centre of defence, with Jones Awuah and Scott Harris replacing Jamie England and Brian Haule up front.
Both teams started well with the visitors looking to exploit the pace of Jermaine McGlashan and Warren Harris on the flanks while Aveley favoured the more direct approach of route one football where Sherwin Stanley and top scorer Martin Tuohy sought to punish any weakness shown by the Ashford defence.
Ollie Morris-Sanders, the Aveley keeper, came to his side’s rescue on the quarter hour mark when he was forced to slide tackle Scott Harris as the striker looked to touch home from brother Warren’s cross from the right then, for Aveley, a Sam Holloway free kick was cleared as far as Steve Demetriou who wasted the opportunity by blasting over Paul Burgess’ bar.
Ashford spurned a good chance to take the lead when Paul Johnson found the head of Awuah with a free kick, the Ashford striker headed on to Mc Nerney who tamely headed into Sanders arms.
Pedantic refereeing from Mr Knight meant that the game never really got into its stride as the over fussy official blew up for every minor infringement, rarely playing the advantage and frustrating both sets of players and supporters alike.
Ashford should have scored, again, on 32 minutes. Good work by Scott Harris in shielding the ball before squaring to Johnson gave the skipper the chance to set up Mc Glashan but despite the tricky winger taking the ball round Sanders, his shot came back off a defender and into Sanders grateful arms.
In the 35th minute and with the defence pushing up, Ashford lost the ball in midfield, Stanley touched the ball past Vinnie O’Sullivan and sped goal wards drawing Brett Cooper over to him and leaving Stanley with the simple task of squaring the ball to the unmarked Tuohy who calmly fired past Burgess for his 20th goal of the season and to give the home side the lead.
Five minutes later, Mc Glashan forced his way into the penalty box but was bought down from behind as he shaped to shoot but, unbelievably, referee Knight waved play on. After bringing the game to a halt on many occasions in the previous 40 minutes, Knight did not have the courage to award what was a stone wall penalty. As the home side frantically attempted to clear their lines the ball cannoned off an Aveley defender to Scott Harris who put the ball in the net only to be ruled off-side.
As play continued, a cross from the Aveley right was met by Stanley but Burgess saved well.
At the start of the second half Aveley pushed up looking to consolidate their lead, a cross from Demetriou found Holloway who bought another tremendous save out of Burgess then Matt Johnson fired wide from a good position.
Ashford equalised just after the hour mark after Scott Harris demonstrated his determination and the art of shielding the ball before sending over a good cross that was defended at the cost of a corner. Paul Johnson curled over a tempting corner kick that somehow reached Jones Awuah (pictured, against Sutton) and he turned the ball into the back of the Aveley net for his first goal in the Tangerine of Ashford.
Jamie Lawrence sent on Brian Haule and Jamie England for Awuah and Davis Haule respectively before Tuohy had the ball in the back of Burgess’ net again, but the Aveley striker was adjudged to be off-side and the ‘goal’ disallowed.
Three minutes later though, in the 78th minute, the home side were gifted what turned out to be the winner when Dadson ran on to a big clearance up-field, Burgess had come racing off his line to intercept but the Aveley winger coolly lobbed the ball over Burgess’ head and into the back of the net.
Poor passing out of the Ashford defence gave Dadson another chance but he dragged his shot wide, then Aveley substitute David Knight shot just wide before being cautioned for time-wasting.
Scott Harris had a half-chance blocked as time ran out for the Middlesex side bringing to an end a disappointing display that, I’m sure, Jamie Lawrence will not be happy with. Again, as with last week, too many passes went astray and it is frustrating for us on the side-lines because we know this team is capable of playing fantastic football, something they have proven over recent weeks.