Ryman League Premier Division,
Two first half Horsham goals secured the double over Ashford for this season and completed a miserable Easter period for Jamie Lawrence’s charges who, despite the score-line, should have gained at least a point from this match.
A slip in the first minute by Vinnie O’Sullivan let in Pat Harding whose shot was blocked by Craig Ross for a corner but an early lay-off by Scott Harris to his brother Warren soon after set the Ashford winger off on a run to deliver a teasing cross that Josh Pelling did well to retrieve just prior to the arrival of Paul Johnson.
Scott Harris had a half chance soon after from a Johnson free kick following a foul on Warren Harris when the ball was flicked on to his head by Russ Canderton but the Ashford striker lifted the ball over Pelling’s bar.
With Warren Harris running at the rather static Ian Payne it looked as if the home team had found the way to get behind the Horsham defence and the winger proved to be an effective and willing outlet as he once again went past Payne and delivered an early cross that brother Scott headed over, then in the 12th minute the younger Harris produced another excellent cross that Harris major latched on to only to see his effort hit the post before running across the goal-mouth where it was finally cleared.
During this period of Ashford domination, Alain Behi headed over from a Johnson free kick and chances fell to Brian Haule and Paul Johnson then, in the 20th minute, the Harris brothers combined cleverly to set up Behi for a shot from 25 yards that Pelling took in the midriff and, in reply, the visitors had a cross from the right headed wide by Ben Andrews.
Ashford’s playing style of trying to play their way out of trouble was, in this instant, the cause of their demise, on the half hour. Vinnie O’Sullivan, instead of clearing up-field or even putting the ball out for a throw, got isolated near the corner flag where he lost the ball which was played into the Ashford penalty area and out to Hassan Nyang who, unmarked at the edge of the area, shot through a crowd of players to put Horsham a goal up.
Ten minutes later, Horsham could have been two up as a good ball was slipped through for Harding to run on to forcing Ross into making a smart save that lead to a corner. The corner was played in where
Vinnie O’Sullivan was obliged to clear off the line from Andrews’s header.
Harding though gave his side a two goal cushion two minutes into time added on at the end of the first half. A break out of defence involving five Horsham players culminated in Harding running on to the ball and steering his left footed shot past the diving Ross.
Jermaine McGlashan replaced Jamie Lawrence at half time for the hosts and straight away set about tormenting Payne as Warren Harris moved to the left and Johnson moved into his usual position in central midfield. McGlashan’s cross was headed out for a corner, taken by Warren Harris, which was blasted just wide by Johnson.
Just after Nyang had volleyed wide, Ashford were denied yet another clear penalty when Haule was wrestled to the ground as he challenged in the Horsham penalty area, referee Bushell waving play on then McGlashan headed wide from a Johnson free kick.
Horsham defended well and looked dangerous on the break, Ross had to make saves from Nyang and Mark Knee before, in the second minute of time added on, Cooper was dismissed for unfairly stopping Steve Davies and, as last man, he received the red card.
With this defeat Ashford slide down into 17th position with just five matches left to ensure their Ryman Premier Division survival.