Coastal path smoothed by Hol­land’s fine strike

Egham News - - SPORT -

RYAN HOL­LAND grabbed a win­ner on the south coast to earn in­jury-hit Ash­ford men a rare South Premier Two tri­umph at East­bourne.

It was an ex­cel­lent 1-0 win from the Short Lane out­fit even though it was not with­out its prob­lems.

Key de­fender El­liot Smith soon joined the grow­ing list of ab­sen­tees, be­ing forced to re­tire with a ham­string strain. Joe Lewis and Dan Hol­land were al­ready side­lined.

Throw in the ab­sence of Piers Du Boulay and the squad was con­sid­er­ably weak­ened.

This did not faze Ash­ford as after around 15 min­utes sub­sti­tute Ryan Hol­land hero­ically de­flected in Shu­jah Ur Rehman's pow­er­ful pass at the far post with his first touch of the game. It was his first goal of the sea­son.

Ash­ford could have been three or four up at the break but for great re­flexes from the East­bourne keeper which pre­vented Alex Betts and ur Rehman from con­vert­ing big op­por­tu­ni­ties.

In the sec­ond half, Ash­ford dug a trench as they were pinned back and scrapped – man­ag­ing to re­pel an on­slaught from a re­mark­able 14 East­bourne short cor­ners.

The vis­i­tors did not help them­selves when they went down to nine men at one point after pick­ing up two silly yel­low cards but they pre­vailed.

Skip­per Luke Cot­trell de­clared: “There was a change in the air in the dress­ing room.

“Ev­ery­one be­lieved that we were go­ing to win and it re­ally showed in the spir­ited per­for­mance.

“This is a great plat­form for us to start climb­ing the ta­ble from now on.”

Ash­ford ladies first XI thrashed NPL 11-0 in a one-sided af­fair.

A quick free hit taken by Nicky Bene­dict at the top of the D saw her open the scor­ing. The next goal came soon after – a re­sult of good skill in the D by Anna Prothero, who notched with a slick re­verse-stick shot. Maria Cav­illa had a stormer and slapped in a cross from Prothero for the third while Bene­dict helped her­self to her sec­ond when she charged to the top of the D be­fore un­leash­ing a pow­er­ful strike.

Cav­illa's quick hands made it 5-0 be­fore half time and the game be­came less in­ter­est­ing as a contest as it wore on, neat work be­tween Kelly Tay­lor, Prothero and Cav­illa re­sult­ing in Cav­illa's hat-trick goal from the first move of the sec­ond half.

Sarah Symes, Laura Quinn , Lucy Ut­t­ley and two bril­liant Cav­illa goals wrapped up the pro­ces­sion which was prob­a­bly not en­joy­able for ei­ther team in terms of com­pet­i­tive­ness.

The sec­ond XI had a far tougher as­sign­ment at PHC Chiswick, go­ing down 2-1.

Skip­per and vice skip­per Abi Frith and Kirsty Hull were un­avail­able and PHC Chiswick man­aged to open the scor­ing, some­what against the run of play.

But Ash­ford were in no mood to let it af­fect them and their ef­forts were re­warded when a good ball from mid­field to Veronica Chudleigh in the D saw her slip the ball across to Gil­lian Clegg who made no mis­take in se­cur­ing the equaliser.

Although PHC Chiswick scored what proved the win­ner, Ash­ford ral­lied and good work by Louisa Jakubovic set up Gil­lian Clegg who fired the ball goal­wards in what looked like a cer­tain equaliser.

But a su­perb, ac­ro­batic save from the PHC Chiswick keeper some­how kept the ball out.

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