Zamaretto League, Central Division
A solitary penalty was the difference between the two sides although, truth told, Ashford’s Paul McCarthy was slightly the busier of the two keepers. The first real chance fell to Tyrone Sealey as a cross was played in from the right, but the lively Bedfont winger put a difficult chance wide, the visitors hit back when Pietro Palladino tried an audacious chip over Gary Ross, the home custodian, but the big keeper got a finger tip to the ball and Mark Bitmead, following up at the far post was penalised for pushing as he tried to force the ball over the line.
A scrappy game soon developed with niggly fouls given away by both sides which referee Mr Bushell failed to deal with but some good moves came from the sides. Takahiro Kirihara played a good ball down the left, from his berth at left back, encouraging a galloping run by Bitmead but his cross was well defended as Palladino threatened.
Two shots in three minutes from Bitmead both failed to hit the target and a speculative effort by Bedfont’s Rishi Nankani met the same fate.
Palladino shot over Ross’ bar from a Jim Mann throw before, on the stroke of 45 minutes, the hosts scored what turned out to be the only goal of the game. A strong run down the Bedfont right by Sealey gave him room to turn in towards goal where he went down very easily in the penalty box from the lightest of challenges by Bairoh Conteh. Referee Bushell pointed to the spot and Sealey fired the ball past McCarthy.
Two late challenges on Jim Mann marked the start of the second half before the same player under hit a back pass to his keeper, Ben King nipped in and should have at least tested McCarthy.
Sealey, again, went over an Ashford defender’s leg in the penalty area, ten minutes into the half, this time skipper Russ Canderton’s. Mr Bushell over-ruled his better placed assistant and awarded a second penalty, again taken by Sealey, but this time McCarthy pulled off a smart save, diving to his right to gather low down.
The referee’s non-handling of the game came to a head, shortly after, when Nankani executed a disgraceful high and two-footed assault on young Ashford midfielder Rob Curtis earning him a straight red.
Canderton went into the book for a trip on substitute Carl Thomas before a Bitmead shot was spilt by Ross but Palladino could not control the rebound.
The closest Ashford came to scoring all afternoon came in the 69th minute when Palladino sped down the Ashford right before laying the ball in front of Dan Brown but, with Ross beaten, Brown’s shot was cleared off the line by a Bedfont defender.
As the match wore on spectators were subjected to prolonged theatrics and blatant time-wasting from Ross and Matt O’Brien in particular with the referee seemingly happy to allow it.