Town ease drop fears

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - SPORT - by Will Sun

Ash­ford Town 0

Dart­ford 0

ASH­FORD TOWN ground out an­other ter­rific point on a chilly night at the Home­lands by hold­ing fourth place Dart­ford to a goal­less draw.

And, with fel­low strug­glers Go­dalm­ing los­ing to Croy­don Ath­letic, Town now have day­light be­tween them­selves and the drop zone thanks largely to their re­cent run of form where they have lost just one of their last six games.

The home side made just the one change from the side that played in the six-goal thriller at Leather­head, with Ken Jar­rett-El­liott re­plac­ing Gra­ham Porter. Si­mon Glover moved to cen­tre half in place of the for­mer Gravesend and North­fleet man.

And it was the Ash­ford goal that was un­der the cosh for the best part of the first half, as Dart­ford’s tricky right-winger Ryan Hayes led the line, cre­at­ing nu­mer­ous chances

First, the for­mer Slade Green man floated a ball in that Jay May headed over, and then Hayes him­self fired a low shot that Jake Whin­cup, who en­dured a night­mare 90 min­utes at Prince’s Park two months ago, saved well low down to his left.

Al­though Whin­cup could do noth­ing to stop Jay May’s fear­some right-footed strike that looked to be fly­ing into the bot­tom cor­ner on 25 min­utes. The ex-Hornchurch keeper was left stranded as May pow­ered across the face of goal, only to see his shot blocked by team-mate John Guest on the line.

De­spite the Darts’ near to­tal dom­i­na­tion though, Whin­cup was rarely forced into a save, as con­di­tions con­spired to thwart the vis­i­tors’ at­tempts to play ef­fec­tive pass­ing foot­ball.

Hardy

Ash­ford also strug­gled to cre­ate chances, be­ing re­duced only to long-range ef­forts from Ge­orge Fen­wick that flew wide of the mark, and al­though Walid Matata twice nipped be­hind the play-off hope­fuls’ defence, his fin­ish­ing touch de­serted him.

Af­ter the break the hardy 221 souls who braved the weather were forced to en­dure more of the same, and in a bid to change the flow of the game Ash­ford boss Cum­ber­batch in­tro­duced Steve Sodje to the fray.

Nev­er­the­less, the well-trav- elled for­ward’s first ac­tion was to get booked, and give away a free kick in a dan­ger­ous area 35 yards from goal. New sign­ing Mark Green whipped in an invit­ing ball that Bren­don Cass got on the end off to head inches inside the left hand up­right.

How­ever, the ref­eree’s as­sis­tant du­bi­ously raised his flag to the dis­may of the strong trav­el­ling con­tin­gent of Darts fans.

Walid Matata came close to nick­ing the game late on when Tony Kes­sell stormed out of his goal, only to be de­nied by cov­er­ing de­fender Richard Avery, but both sides had to settle for a share of the spoils on a night that will eas­ily be forgotten.

Pic­ture: Dave Downey pd1172643 Buy this pic­ture from ken­ton­line.co.uk

Mar­ket Ho­tel, blue shirts, held off Brom­ley Green to lift the Pre­mier Cup at Reach­fields on Sun­day

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