Town ease drop fears
Ashford Town 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.
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.
Market Hotel, blue shirts, held off Bromley Green to lift the Premier Cup at Reachfields on Sunday