Ashford Town (Middlesex)


Maidstone United


Ryman League Premier Division,
Short Lane Stadium
24th October 2009

Keith Bristow’s first action as caretaker manager, following the resignation of Mark Butler yesterday (Friday), was to re-instate fit again Craig Ross in goal, Brian Haule up front, Vinnie O’Sullivan at right back and Ricardo Joseph on the left of midfield but Ashford’s recent poor run of results continued with this defeat by Maidstone. Despite having a good percentage of the play, Ashford could not find the net and were guilty of over elaboration instead of trying a strike on goal, especially in the second half when the stiff breeze was in their favour.

The chances that Ashford did create came from passages of, sometimes, neat football with Vinnie O’Sullivan and Ivo Ginev showing well in the early stages.

Byron Harrison rolled an early shot across the Maidstone keeper, Jamie Turner, but also wide of the far post before O’Sullivan gained the goal line cutting back a cross which the incoming Harrison just failed to connect with.

Half-chances fell to James Pinnock and Matthew Wright that Craig Ross, the Ashford custodian, dealt with then Hone Fowler found Ricardo Joseph with a quick throw on the Ashford left, Joseph cut inside and tested Turner with a strong right footed shot, but the Stones keeper saved comfortably.

A dangerous Nick Barnes free kick was cleared by Russ Canderton just prior to the visitors, against the run of play, taking the lead. A speculative shot from Jermain Darlington looked to be easily dealt with by Ross until the ball bobbled just in front of the keeper who could only parry the ball to the waiting Pinnock who was on hand to ram the ball into the back of the empty net.

Too many of Ashford’s free kicks were being claimed by Turner until one, on the stroke of half time found Billy Jeffreys at the far post, the Stones keeper had to be alert to keep out the big defender’s header.

A blatant trip on Harrison by James Peacock, as the Ashford striker sent him the wrong way, should have earned him a yellow card but referee Mr Kendall saw fit to just administer a few words to the Stones defender as the second half got under way, then another free kick by Johnson was cleared at the cost of a corner, also taken by the Ashford skipper. Johnson’s cross invited shots from Brian Haule and Harrison as the visitors tried desperately to clear their lines, then Harrison connected well and looked like scoring the equaliser until the ball was handled on the goal line by Darlington which provoked loud and prolonged penalty appeals from Ashford players and supporters alike. But the only man in the ground that did not see the incident was Mr Kendall who waved play on.

Maidstone rattled Ross’ bar with a free kick and Harrison shot wide at the other end before poor defending saw Wright receive the ball with his back to goal, turn and place a good shot past Ross and into the net at the far post to effectively end Ashford’s challenge.

Late chances for Brian Haule and his brother Davis were dealt with by Turner but Maidstone held on to take all three points.

Ashford did not play particularly poorly but a combination of stout defending by the visitors, bad luck and chances not taken kept them scoreless, we can only hope that fortunes change dramatically on Tuesday when runaway leaders Dartford are the visitors.