Mant rel­ish­ing chance to shine

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - - By An­drew Gi­d­ley

Ash­ford United goal­keeper Joe Mant says the FA Vase fourth round tie at Han­well on Satur­day is the big­gest game of his fledg­ling ca­reer.

The highly-rated 18-year-old has only con­ceded two goals in the club’s five ties so far, but could be in for a busy af­ter­noon against the Spar­tan South Mid­lands League sharp-shoot­ers, led by pro­lific front­man Bill Healey.

Thirty-seven goal Healey grabbed a hat-trick in the 5-0 win over United’s South­ern Coun­ties East League ri­vals Lordswood in the last round, but Mant is up for the chal­lenge.

He said: “It’s a mas­sive game for the club, ev­ery­one knows that, and I am re­ally look­ing for­ward to it. It’s up there with the big­gest I’ve played.

“We haven’t re­ally spo­ken about them be­fore, be­cause Paul Cham­bers likes to con­cen­trate on one match at a time, but there’s been a lit­tle bit of chat in the dress­ing room about Han­well and their re­sults. We know if we play as well we can give any­one a game.”

Boss Cham­bers said: “Han­well must be a good side hav­ing got this far, we have had them watched and worked on things in train­ing this week, but I see it as just another game, and a day out to en­joy.”

Lordswood boss Si­mon Halsey is warn­ing United about Han­well’s threat. He said: “I had them scouted and went there quite con­fi­dent.

“The re­port I got was noth­ing like how they played, and they shocked and sur­prised me. They are a very good, well or­gan­ised side.”

The tie in west Lon­don takes place just five miles from Wem­b­ley, venue for the fi­nal on March 10. United are the only SCEL sur­vivors left in the com­pe­ti­tion and vic­tory would leave them only four games from the fi­nal.

United travel to Erith Town on Tues­day in the Macron SCEL Cup quar­ter-fi­nal – trail­ing 1-0 from the first leg.

Cham­bers clocked up his 100th game in charge of United in that first meet­ing, with six of the 16-man squad in­volved in his first match at the helm – a 1-0 Kent In­victa League de­feat at Hol­lands & Blair in Au­gust 2011 – still at Home­lands.

He said: “It shows a cer­tain amount of con­sis­tency, but we have got the right bal­ance now, and ev­ery­thing is fine and dandy.”

Pic­ture: Paul Amos FM2983907

FULL LENGTH: The Ham­street goal­keeper de­nies Mar­ket Ho­tel dur­ing Sun­day’s

Ash­ford & Dis­trict League Pre­mier Di­vi­sion game at The Ridge, Ken­ning­ton. League

round-up, page 67

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