Win could be price­less

VI­TAL VICTORY: Smith’s goal-line stop proves the game’s piv­otal mo­ment as Han­d­ley hits win­ner Hockey

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Classified -

ASH­FORD boosted their sur­vival hopes in South Premier League Divi­sion 2 with a cru­cial victory at Ep­som.

They started the game con­fi­dently and cre­ated a num­ber of chances but Ep­som’s tricky for­ward line were also link­ing well and they took the lead through a close-range vol­ley.

Ep­som’s de­fence, how­ever, were strug­gling to cope with the speed of Sam Han­d­ley and Rob Play­ford’s skil­full touches and Ash­ford equalised 10 min­utes be­fore half-time when Chris Pearce fin­ished a fine move in­volv­ing both Han­d­ley and Play­ford.

The sec­ond half was a tight af­fair full of drama, and Ash­ford made their task harder by hav­ing Play­ford, Toby Clifton-Holt and Han­d­ley sin-binned at var­i­ous stages.

But Chris Smith put in a great shift in the cen­tre and his goal-line stop was a big mo­ment in the game.

Ash­ford also sur­vived three short cor­ners thanks to good work by keeper Keir Star­ley and they se­cured a price­less victory when Han­d­ley cap­i­talised on a de­fen­sive er­ror to grab the win­ner.

Ash­ford must now make the most of their three re­main­ing home games, start­ing with Satur­day’s match against league leaders Wim­ble­don. ASH­FORD un­der-11s reached the re­gional round semi-fi­nals of the Ya­zoo Na­tional Hockey Cham­pi­onships at King’s Can­ter­bury.

Scar­let Carter, Is­abelle Nor­ris, Olivia Richards and Livy Palmer were on tar­get dur­ing their wins over Folke­stone and Loose Pri­mary, and their draw with Herne Bay, be­fore the team bowed out to Can­ter­bury in the last four.

THE un­der-13s took third place in their group at the same com­pe­ti­tion, played at Kent Col­lege, Can­ter­bury.

The team won two of the four games played, de­spite los­ing their goal­keeper to in­jury af­ter the first match.

Philippa Hem­phrey and Jemma Luck­hurst scored the goals.

Pic­ture: David Par­sons

Jon Stiff fires home a short cor­ner dur­ing the sec­ond team’s 2-1 win over Burnt Ash Satur­day

Folke­stone 2nd (blue)

take on Holcombe at Cheri­ton Road

on Satur­day

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