ASHFORD UNITED 2 WHITSTABLE TOWN 0
Bostik League South East
Saturday January 12 2019 15.00
Ashford moved up to fourth after easing to a 2-0 win at Homelands, but were made to wait until late by a resolute Whitstable defence, before finally sealing the three points. The home team always looked the more likely winners, but despite having nine corners and conceding none in the first half, neither goalkeeper had a save to make before the interval. Things livened up in the second half and a well worked move was finished by the much travelled Trey Williams to give Ashford the lead in the 57th minute. Dan Eason made several good saves to keep Whitstable in the game and a couple of substitutions brought a little more threat to the relatively untroubled home defence. The game was settled in added time when Whitstable were left exposed at the back as they sought an equaliser and Danny Parish broke away down the right and finished well to secure his team a deserved win.
When Ashford visited the Belmont at the start of September for the reverse fixture, a late Tom Walmsley goal was enough to give Whitstable their first win since returning to the Bostik League. Only five players that started that day were in the Whitstable eleven this time, but that was more than Ashford, for whom only Sam Mott, Josh Wisson and Sam Corne started both games. Ashford have also changed their manager, with Tommy Warrilow having replaced Gary Alexander, but they were in good form winning seven and drawing one of their last nine games. Whitstable were without the suspended James Morrish and Stephen Smith and several others were still nursing injuries. Young defender Teddy Nelson was on the bench ahead of his trial at Fleetwood Town.
Chris Elliott swing in an early free kick, but Tom Bryant was unable to get his back post header on target. The first Ashford corner on 10 minutes led to a Parish shot being blocked by Bryant. Ashford spent most of the first half pushing forward, but Bryant, Rob Gillman and Stuart West did a good job of protecting goalkeeper Eason. From the last of three successive corners, Corne’s delivery was volleyed over by Afolabi Coker. Chris Saunders was shown a yellow card on 29 minutes for halting a run by Theo Fairweather-Johnson on the halfway line with a challenge that eventually saw the Ashford player limp off a few minutes later.
The home team had four more corners in a row, but they were all dealt with by the Whitstable defence. As half time approached, Charlie Smith won a free kick that was taken by Elliott, but was a shade too high for Bryant at the far post. Toby Ajala got into a promising position for Ashford, but his cross was overhit and went out for a goal kick. The interval arrived with the game still 0-0 after a comfortable 45 minutes for both goalkeepers.
The opening minutes of the second half brought a corner at each end and then in the 50th minute, there was finally a shot on target, when an Elliott free kick was saved low at the near post by Mott. Then it was the turn of Eason, who had to be alert to touch a long shot by Ajala over the bar. The Whitstable goalkeeper was almost embarrassed a couple of minutes later when his attempted clearance hit Usman Adeniji, but the ball rebounded just wide of the goal. Ashford were starting to cause more problems and a fierce Adeniji cross from the left was parried by Eason, but Wisson put the follow up wide. The opening goal arrived in the next attack however, when some neat play by Corne on the left pulled the defence out of position and when the cross came in, Williams, who had already played for Whyteleafe and Ramsgate against Whitstable in recent weeks, was left with a simple finish from close range.
In the 62nd minute, another left wing cross picked out Parish, but Eason did well to save his effort. Ajala tried another strike from 25 yards, but it was off target. Whitstable made two substitutions in the 68th minute, introducing strikers Walmsley and Ricky Freeman in an attempt to get back into the game and they did at least inject a little more pace and asked a few different questions of the Ashford defence. West headed a free kick wide, before Ashford brought on Clark Woodcock. Parish had a shot deflected for a corner and then Eason caught an attempted overhead kick. Bryant headed an Elliott long throw over the top and then, back at the other end, Eason did well to tip a good curling shot by Wisson over the bar. With time running out, another long throw by Elliott almost fell to a Whitstable boot in the box, but Ashford managed to scramble the ball clear. As the game moved into stoppage time, a Whitstable corner was cleared and the ball was played to Parish just inside his own half on the right, as Ashford suddenly found themselves breaking with four players against two defenders. Parish drove on, but did not need his supporting team mates as he took the ball across the six yard line before firing the ball into the net for a great solo goal. A late, late substitution saw an Ashford debut for Kundai Munyama, who was only on the field for a few seconds before the referee brought the game to an end.
Whitstable now have a break from league action, with a midweek Velocity Trophy quarter final at AFC Hornchurch. Their following two league fixtures are against the two bottom sides, so they will be hoping to return to some more consistent form, after a number of recent injuries and suspensions have done them no favours.
|11||Free Kicks Won||12|
Sam Mott, Jerald Aboagye, Tom Carlse, Josh Wisson, Afolabi Coker, Mohammed Kamara, Sam Corne (c), Toby Ajala, Danny Parish (Kundai Munyama 90+3), Usman Adeniji (Clark Woodcock 71), Theo Fairweather-Johnson (Trey Williams 35).
Subs (unused): Tony Oladipupo, Charlie Wealands.
Goals: Trey Williams 57, Danny Parish 90+1.
Yellow card: Josh Wisson 86
Dan Eason, Sam Welch, Chris Elliott, Stuart West, Rob Gillman, Tom Bryant (c), Chris Saunders (Tom Walmsley 68), Michael Jenner, Charlie Smith (Ricky Freeman 68), Jordan Wright, James Trueman.
Subs (unused): Harry Brown, Teddy Nelson, Louis Sprosen.
Yellow cards: Chris Saunders 29, Charlie Smith 63.
Referee: Jack Fagg
Assistants: Jak Hill & Richard Joss