United want striker Smissen
Buster Smissen looks set to join Ashford United as they prepare for the Southern Counties East League season which starts next month.
The prolific striker, who lists Canterbury City and Whitstable among his most recent clubs, helped Hythe Town clinch promotion to the Ryman League and has also had spells with Dover, Chatham and Sittingbourne.
Schoolteacher Smissen turned out for United in their 2-1 defeat in a friendly against Gillingham at Homelands on Saturday
Boss Paul Chambers said: “We went looking for him. He is a good lad and the sort of person we would like to have here.”
Smissen could be the ideal replacement for last season’s top marksman Mo Takaloo who has joined Ryman League Whitstable.
Forward Damien Abel, who joined United last March, is likely to be unavailable as he concentrates on starting a new estate agency business based in Folkestone.
Experienced Deal defender Ian Wallace was another new face in the Ashford line-up in a squad of 19 players used by Chambers, who was delighted with the afternoon.
Left-back Liam Whiting’s long-range strike the pick of the goals, in front of a crowd of nearly 450.
Chambers said: “It was a good fitness test and run-out for us and I was impressed with what every player did in the game.
“Nobody has signed yet, there is no first team or reserves, the team that started on Saturday won’t be the one I begin the season with. There are places for everybody to chase.”
Former Gills boss Andy Hessenthaler watched his son Jake from the terraces at Homelands with present day manager Martin Allen fielding two different teams in each half, both a mixture of youth and experience.
Youngster Aiden Blanchard put the League 1 side ahead after only three minutes, firing across Joe Mant into the far corner, converting Myles Weston’s cross.
United levelled on the half-hour thanks to Whiting’s terrific strike, the ball dropping to him 30 yards out and his first-time effort flew in.
Weston was again involved in the build-up for Gills’ second four minutes before the break – a short corner was played to the far post by Weston for defender Leon Legge to head home. United’s next friendly is against Margate on Tuesday (7.45pm)
CHASE IS ON: Left, Ashford pursue defender Leon Legge at Homelands. Above, Gills’ Amine Linganzi makes progress down the flank