FIVE STRAIGHT WINS: Lovell’s side ease past Walton Casuals Town stroll to victory
ASHFORD TOWN boosted their play-off credentials with a fifth consecutive win as they comfortably beat Walton Casuals.
Headers from Danny Lye and Sean Ray put Town ahead at the break, before Mitchell Sherwood ensured they were never forced out of first gear.
The three points proved enough to move Town into fourth and boss Steve Lovell was even given the luxury of resting three of his key players ahead of Saturday’s clash with rivals Folkestone.
Town haven’t lost a Saturday league game for nearly four months and that record was never in doubt at Walton’s Waterside Stadium. On 13 minutes, Ryan Briggs – floating in inswingers from both sides of the pitch – found Tony Browne whose header was tipped onto the bar, although minutes later, Town took the lead.
Jimmy Elford’s ball eluded the Casuals defence to find midfielder Lye, who headed in unchallenged.
Top scorer Paul Jones nearly doubled the lead when he brought down Sean Ray’s pass, only to fire at keeper Craig Bradshaw.
Jones was nearly made to regret his miss moments later, when Luke Fontana sprinted clear of the Town defence only to be denied by a smart save from Seb Barton.
The Nuts and Bolts stepped up their intensity before the interval and again threatened from Briggs’ set-pieces.
Briggs’ corner from the right was knocked down by Sean Ray, only for Lye to spurn a clear-cut opening to head home.
The captain himself made no mistake, though, as he shrugged off his marker to head home another corner on the stroke of half-time.
Referee Eamonn Smith pointed to the penalty spot after 69 minutes after Tony Browne was hauled down in the area.
Sherwood stepped up and slotted into the bottom right corner and despite Bradshaw diving the right way, the former Portsmouth keeper could not keep out the Nuts and Bolts’ third.
Lovell substituted Craig Wilkins and Ryan Briggs soon after but still Walton provided little threat.
Anthony Gale – son of ex-West Ham legend and Walton Casuals director of football Tony – came closest for John Morris’ men with a shot that caught Barton off balance but the ex-Hastings keeper skilfully managed to deny the Walton midfielder on the run back to goal.