Ashford Town (Middlesex)




Ryman League Premier Division,
Short Lane Stadium
17th November 2009

The first home match of the Jamie Lawrence era saw Ashford Town produce a good display of passing football, but a series of missed chances meant they were grateful to substitute Scott Harris for his late equaliser.

The Ash Trees opened the scoring in the sixth minute when a Paul Johnson corner was not dealt with by Aveley keeper James Marrable, whose soft punch sent the ball to young defender Guy Hollis (pictured, right), who volleyed the ball in for his first goal for the senior team.

The visitors responded immediately, with Junior Dadson racing seventy yards before shooting across the goal and forcing a good save from Craig Ross.  After this, the home side took control of the match, with Russell Canderton heading against the crossbar, and Byron Harrision having two opportunities, one of which was blazed over and the other sidefooted wide with Marrable scrambling across his goal Davis Haule also had a shot well saved.

The Tangerines were made to pay for their profligacy in the 31st minute when a shot from Aveley’s Matt Johnson was parried onto the frame of the goal and Martin Tuohy stooped to head the ball in.

Shortly after this, Warren Harris was taken out by a late and high challenge from Millers defender Nicky Symonds.  There was a brief melee, after which Symonds was shown a yellow card that could so easily have been red.  Both sides had half chances in the remaining minutes of the first half, but neither goalkeeper was tested.

The home side had passed the ball well in the first half and continued in this vein after the break.  However, the Tangerines did not create an opportunity until the 52nd minute, when Davis Haule was fouled off the ball by Richard Ketchell.  The resultant free kick was headed over Marrable’s bar.

Ashford continued to dictate the game, with Harrison being denied by some excellent defending and Brian Haule having a shot deflected to safety, while Warren Harris headed wide from a deep free kick.  However, Aveley’s fast, direct approach meant they were dangerous on the break, and Dadson should have given them a 68th minute lead.  However, the pacy wideman blazed over while unmarked.

With twenty minutes to go, Symonds was hurt committing a foul on Brian Haule.  Referee Scholes played a good advantage, but Warren Harris’ cross was deflected to Marrable.  Harrison and Paul Johnson both went close as Ashford continued to dominate.

However, for all their possession, Ashford had not found the net and would regret this when Aveley snatched the lead.  An 80th minute free kick was headed across the goal, a scramble ensued and the ball was eventually bundled home by Symonds.

Ashford did not lose their composure and Harrison had Marrable beaten with an 84th minute header, only for the ball to bounce off the post.  Seconds later, Brian Haule was taken off, with Scott Harris replacing him.

Two minutes after his introduction, the elder Harris brother had levelled the match, flicking his header from a Paul Johnson cross into the corner of the net.  It was a hard-earned point and no worse than the two sides deserved after an entertaining game.

Photo by Andy Nunn