United fail to build on great start
Ashford United let slip an early two-goal lead as unfancied Deal sprang a surprise to reach the quarter-finals of the Macron League Challenge Cup at Homelands on Saturday.
Tom Scorer and Adam Cuthbert’s penalty put United in control after only 16 minutes in their first home game for more than five weeks, only for Andy Miller’s 30-yard free-kick 60 seconds later to spark the visitors into life.
Deal substitute Jack Tanner made it 2-2 with 12 minutes left, punishing a defensive howler, before striker Charlie Walsh got the winner two minutes from time.
Scorer volleyed United in front after only 10 minutes.
Six minutes later, James Everitt was brought down in the box by defender Alex Coyne – brother of former United loanee Connor. The reliable Cuthbert stepped up to send keeper Chris Waymark the wrong way.
Deal’s response was quick, Miller firing his long-range set-piece beyond Joe Mant, to give the visitors an immediate way back into the tie.
Stuart Zanone missed a great chance to make it 3-1 before Mant produced a fine save just before half-time, tipping Ryan Moore’s effort over the bar.
United started the second half on the front foot, Kieran Byrne firing wide after a fine run.
Dickens, ASHFORD UTD DEAL TOWN signed on dual registration from Ramsgate, was floored by Warren Smith, earning the former New Romney striker the only booking of the game, which was well controlled by referee Ivan Gelov.
Mant did well to make a double stop from Miller and push away another effort either side of Gary Mickelborough and Zanone going close at the other end, before Tanner made it 2-2.
He made the most of a mix-up between Mant and Pat Kingwell to be left with an easy finish.
Substitute Andy Irvine, back in the side after a lengthy break from the game and Zanone both had chances, before Deal’s Martin Austin missed badly, only for Walsh to grab the 88th-minute winner.
A ball into the United box caused problems and ended up in the back of the home net, with Walsh credited with the final touch.
Ashford under-18s’ home game against Maidstone United in Ryman League East Division was postponed last Thursday night because of fog.
Ashford’s Kieran Byrne challenged by Deal. Below, Ashford’s Tom Scorer fires home
the first goal