Drama to last whis­tle

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Www.kentonline.co.uk/sport -

“Dev­as­tated but proud” was as­sis­tant man­ager John Ovard’s verdict af­ter nine-man Ash­ford United ex­ited the Macron South­ern Coun­ties League Chal­lenge Cup af­ter this con­tro­ver­sial quar­ter-fi­nal, sec­ond leg tie at Eltham on Tues­day night.

Trail­ing 1-0 from the first meet­ing a fort­night ago, United stood only three min­utes from go­ing through on away goals, when for­mer Home­lands de­fender Lee Coburn hit the win­ner, his sec­ond of the night

United boss Paul Cham­bers re­fused to com­ment at the end af­ter see­ing Adam Cuth­bert and Liam Whit­ing both sent-off, while sub­sti­tute Sam Fisher was red carded af­ter the fi­nal whis­tle fol­low­ing com­ments to ref­eree Ja­son Down.

Mr Down also bran­dished seven yel­low cards and Ovard said: “I was fu­ri­ous about how we were treated and how the of­fi­cials went about their busi­ness.”

Con­sis­tency seemed to be at the heart of United’s ar­gu­ment. Cuth­bert was dis­missed for a chal­lenge Mr Down deemed reck­less, de­spite claims he played the ball, while home ERITH TOWN ASH­FORD UTD de­fend­ers Danny Moore and Danny Ak­ers, guilty of sim­i­lar chal­lenges on United skip­per Gary Clarke and Kieran Byrne, were only yel­low carded.

Ovard added: “The tackle on Gary was two-footed, their player swears in the face of the ref­eree and walks away but only gets booked.

“Adam blocks a shot on the edge of the box, the ball is on the floor, he hasn’t lunged or jumped into a tackle and he makes a split-sec­ond de­ci­sion to send him off.”

Ovard, who ex­pects to be re­ported for com­ments to Mr Down at the fi­nal whis­tle, added: “I didn’t swear but told him I thought his per­for­mance was a disgrace. He won’t talk to you or apol­o­gise, he’ll make his re­port, we will have to swal­low it and pay the fine.”

United found them­selves a goal down af­ter 23 min­utes, Coburn head­ing home un­marked from a cor­ner.

Cuth­bert equalised 13 min­utes later but was dis­missed soon af­ter. United shrugged off that set­back to take a 2-1 lead two min­utes be­fore the break through Sam Con­lon.

Erith’s Conrad Lee hit a free-kick against the United bar a minute af­ter the restart and then equalised to put the home side ahead 3-2 on ag­gre­gate.

Sub­sti­tute Michael Smis­sen came off the bench to set up Con­lon’s sec­ond 17 min­utes from the end, be­fore Whit­ing was dis­missed af­ter a sec­ond book­ing for dis­sent.

Erith thought they were through 4-3 on ag­gre­gate when Calum O’Shea drilled an ef­fort past Mant in the first minute of stop­page-time to make it 3-3 on the night, only for Smis­sen to score United’s fourth three min­utes later.

In ex­tra-time, Mick­el­brough (twice) and Clarke went close to get­ting a fifth, only for Coburn to break his for­mer team-mates’ re­sis­tance.

Ash­ford’s Adam Cuth­bert was one of three United play­ers red-carded on Tues­day night

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.